I walked around our neighborhood last weekend taking the final few pictures on a roll of film I had started in Hawaii. I’d forgotten how much I love shooting with film- the anticipation, the not knowing, the magic.
Jimmy had to work both Saturday and Sunday and I was fighting a cold but it felt good to spend some time alone- to find my footing, my balance- to take pictures and cook and rest.
roasted golden beets + salami + cilantro empanadas
I’ve never had much luck with pastry dough but this video from Gordan Ramsey changed all that. The key is keeping the butter cold. Make sure you put a bowl into the fridge ahead of time so that it is nice and chilled when you are ready to make the dough. Once I have the dough made, I like to work with the empanadas in batches so that I don’t have all the dough out on the counter at the same time. Watch the video. Do what he says. Make some pastry. This recipe takes some preparation but it’s actually simpler than it seems. Make sure you read through all of the instructions before beginning.
Oh, and a note about the measurements: I feel like I have the best luck when I weigh out my ingredients, especially when making dough. However, if you don’t have a scale at home try using a 1:2 butter to flour ratio- for this recipe you can use about 1 ½ cups of butter and 3 cups of flour.
for the dough:
400g flour (chilled)
Pinch of salt
200g unsalted butter, cut into cubes and kept cold
100ml cold water
for the filling:
8-10 small(ish) beets, cleaned and trimmed (but not peeled)
½ cup cilantro (or more to taste), chopped
8 ounces salami of choice, cut into bite-sized pieces
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 egg yolk, lightly whisked (optional)
Start by preparing your dough. Whisk together the flour and salt and combine with butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse (no more than 20 seconds) until butter is incorporated and the texture resembles course gravel. Transfer into a chilled bowl (see note above) and make a well in the center. Slowly pour about two thirds of the water into the well and gently stir with your hands until water is mostly incorporated. Add the rest of the water and work dough together until a ball has mostly formed. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead dough until it comes together completely. Divide dough in two, form into balls, and let settle in fridge for at least 30 minutes (preferably an hour or two).
Next, roast your beets. (Do ahead! Beets will keep in an air-tight container for a day or two). There are several ways to roast beets but I like to wrap them in foil, place them on a baking sheet, and park them in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 30-45 minutes (or until they are tender and easily pierced with a fork). Once beets have cooled enough to handle, their skins will be easy to peel right off. Chop peeled beets into bite-sized pieces and set aside or refrigerate in an air-tight container until ready to use.
Once your dough is nicely chilled, toss beets, cilantro, salami, and olive oil together in a bowl until well combined and set aside. Remove one dough ball from fridge and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll dough out until it is thin (about 1/8 inch) and cut into circles with about a 4-5 inch diameter (small salad bowls work well as a guide). Add a scoop of filling into each circle and fold over edges, leaving a little extra dough on the bottom layer to pinch up and fold over the top layer. Pinch around edges with your fingers or the tines of a fork until empanada is totally sealed. Place empanadas on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for about 10 minutes to re-chill the crust. While first set is chilling, repeat the process with second ball of dough.
Prior to baking, brush the tops of each empanada with the egg yolk (optional). Bake each tray in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Serve warm.