Normally I don’t like to use the quotations and descriptive vocabulary that is common place for Chefs like Thomas Keller, but bare with me because I don’t know quite what to call it yet.
I was at work the other day when someone made empanada filling and I’ve had a craving for them ever since. The issue with empanadas is the pouches take a lot of time to make and there’s a gross amount of oil required to fry them.
Not to be outdone I set off to the store with plans of cooking for my roommates today. It hit me as I was walking through that maybe I didn’t have to make actual empanadas to enjoy the flavors.
Instead I opted for a variation of a Scaloppini recipe I worked with at school.
I got to work this afternoon working with this spread of ingredients:
1 Yellow Pepper
1 Orange Pepper
1 Pckg Chorizo
1 Pork Medallion
1 Fennel Bulb
1 Red Onion
1#Baby Dutch Yellow Potatoes
1 White Corn Cob
1/2 Bottle of MonteVina Moscato
1 Bag Mixed Greens
1# Feta Cheese
-I started by dicing the tomato, peppers, and onion. Reserving the juice and flesh of the tomato I pressed them through a fine chive to extract as much juice as possible.
-While I was dicing I had placed a pot of water with the potatoes whole and skin on to par cook. Once they were finished par cooking I removed them, ran under cold water, and sliced into quarters. Toss with a small amount of olive oil and reserve.
-I started the “Deconstructed” Empanada filling by searing off the Chorizo. While the chorizo was cooking I cubed 1/4 of the pork loin into small pieces. I tossed the pork in a mixture of spices and herbs:
1 part salt
1 part pepper
1/2 part Cinnamon
1 part Cumin
1/2 part Thyme
1/2 part Rosemary
1/2 part Allspice
-I then added the pork to the chorizo with some of the onion and tomato. I cooked it all down till it formed a ragout or stuffing style of mix. I laid it out on a cookie sheet and placed it in the freezer to chill.
-I removed the fennel bulb, cleaned it up and sliced it very thin. I then blanched it for a short moment in some boiling water with salt. I then made a chiffonade of Leek and caramelized them in a sauté pan. Tossed the two together in a little olive oil.
-Taking the reserved tomato juice I added a small amount of the Moscato and let reduce slowly.
-I then boiled the corn till the kernels started to become soft, removed from the water, sliced the kernels off the cob and held in a bowl.
-With the rest of the pork I sliced them into medallions and pounded them to even size and held aside.
-When the tomato juice was done reducing I chilled it, and tossed in a little bit of olive oil.
With the Mise en place set, assembly was pretty easy. I roasted the potatoes off, dressed the mix greens with the dressing and added the fennel and leek, seasoned and seared off the pork medallions, and reheated the “Empanada Filling”.
The end result was this:
Over all, the dish was well received and was liked all around. Some tweaking needs to be done to the recipe but over all its going to be a keeper for me.
So what happened to those pears you’re asking me?
Desert… it didn’t turn out just as I had hoped and needs a lot of tweaking but, I will tell you I poached them in the rest of the Moscato with vanilla and honey. The pears themselves came out perfect, but the presentation was seriously lacking. Ill be working on that one for later.