French Onion Soup Empanadas

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On numerous occasions on this blog I gushed about my love of French Onion Soup. It’s somewhat of an obsession.

One of my other loves in any food that’s wrapped in dough – be it puff pastry, filo, pasta, etc. I’ll travel the culinary world for a good dumpling, pierogi, patty, lumpia, pita, etc. Of course, empanadas are no exception.

Last weekend a good friend of mine sent a snapchat of some empanadas he was frying up, and I was smitten, realizing it had been a long time since I made them myself. His sister’s Ecuadorian in-laws noddingly approved of his frying skills. I instantly knew I wanted to achieve similar greatness.

Apparently the secret was Goya empanada wrappers. I bought some the next day and saved them in my freezer until inspiration struck.

A few days later the idea of French Onion Soup Empanadas came to mind. I had two additional inspirations on top of that snap chat – a French Onion Soup Casserole I saw on Pinterest and the famous French Onion Soup Dumplings at The Stanton Social.

By not making empanada dough from scratch, these were super easy to make.

FRENCH ONION SOUP EMPANADAS
3 large Sweet or Vidalia Onions, sliced thick
1 stick Butter
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
1 teaspoon Thyme
1 tablespoon Beef Better than Bouillon (or 1 Beef Bouillon Cube)
2 tablespoons Flour
1 cup White Wine (or Brandy)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
4 ounces Jarslberg Cheese, sliced into small squares
1 packet (12 each) Goya Empanada Wrappers
Vegetable or Corn Oil for Frying
Sugar and Parmesan Cheese

  1. Remove wrappers from freezer and allow to thaw while you prepare onions.
  2. In a heavy bottom stock pot or dutch oven (I used my Staub coquette), melt the butter. Add onions and spices. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, until onions are brown and a little syrupy.
  3. Add flour and stir for a couple of minutes until well incorporated.
  4. Add wine and cook mixture for about five more minutes, until onion mixture has thickened and excess liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and spread on a cookie sheet or pan to cool.
  5. Meanwhile, heat oil in pot (I cleaned and re-used my coquette). Use a candy thermometer and allow to heat between 320 and 350 degrees.
  6. Assemble empanadas – use about two tablespoons of onion mixture and 1-2 squares of cheese. Fold in half and crimp edges closed with fork.
  7. Fry empanadas for about 3-5 minutes, until golden brown to brown.
  8. Remove from fryer and drain on a paper towel. While still hot, sprinkle with a pinch of Parmesan cheese and sugar.

 

Apple Cheddar Empanadas

Fall is one of my favorite times of years to cook. I love all the flavors of the season – pumpkin, sage, butter, apples, pears, cinnamon, nutmeg, butternut squash, etc.

A couple of years ago I went apple picking up in Warwick, NY and I definitely overdid it. 25 pounds of apples later, I had to come up with fun and creative ways to use them so they would not spoil. This was also the first time I delved into canning.

Desserts and baking, with the exception of working with chocolate, have never been my forte. The past few years my capabilities have improved, but I cannot help but use cooking style improvisation in my baking, especially combining savory and sweet.

One of the recipes I developed was Apple and Cheddar Empanadas – a sweet and spicy apple pie filling enrobed in a cheddary empanada crust.

This week I revisited the recipe and forgot how much I liked it. I cannot take full credit for the dough part, as I used a recipe from Kraft, but I’m still proud to say it’s all from scratch.

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APPLE CHEDDAR EMPANADAS
For the Dough:
Kraft Empanada Dough Recipe (consider substituting lard for shortening)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Egg wash (one egg mixed with 1/4 cup water or milk)

For the Filling:
3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ~1″ cubes
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup burbon or whiskey
1 teaspoon each – white pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon flour

  1. Prepare dough according to recipe, set aside
  2. In a large saute or frying pan, melt the butter and add the apples, saute about two minutes as they start to brown
  3. Add brown sugar, bourbon, and spices. Continue to saute about five more minutes. Apples will start to decompose.
  4. Sprinkle flour over the apples, continue to heat and mix in about two more minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  6. Divide the dough equally into 12 pieces, roll into balls. Roll each ball into the shredded cheddar to coat, and knead the cheddar into each piece.
  7. Roll out each dough ball into 6 inch circles, add about 1 rounded tablespoon of filling to the center ( do not overfill).
  8. Fold each circle in half, seal the edges closed by crimping with a fork. Pierce the top of each empanada to allow filling to vent while baking.
  9. Arrange empanadas on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Brush the top of each empanada with the egg wash.
  10. Bake empanadas for 18 – 23 minutes or until golden brown in color. Enjoy hot or allow to cool. Empanadas can be stored at room temperature in a sealed bag for up to a week.