Thursday, October 16, 2008

buffalo empanadas

A recent trip to our food co-op turned up a neat surprise. Locally raised buffalo! Carolina Bison Company near Asheville, NC maintains a herd of around 300 buffalo, and now distributes to the public. I've only had bison on a few occasions, and only in restaurants. It's a much leaner meat than typical ground beef, so it should be interesting to cook with.

Let's see what this lean red meat does in some empanadas, shall we? They're a little tedious to put together, but the actual cooking is quite easy and absolutely worth it.

Buffalo Empanadas
1 lb. ground bison
1 T vegetable oil
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 t paprika
1 t cumin
1 t red pepper flakes (or less, depending on taste)
1 T white wine vinegar
salt & pepper
1 package of puff pasty
1 beaten egg

1. Start by heating the vegetable oil in a skillet. Once warm, add the onion, garlic & a bit of salt and let it sweat.
2. Next, add the bison and brown it.

3. After the meat is thoroughly cooked, add the paprika, cumin, red pepper, vinegar, and salt & pepper to taste. It should be just slightly spicy. Set aside on a plate covered with paper towels and allow to cool and drain.
4. Preheat oven to 350F. Roll out the puff pastry dough and cut into circles approximately 3-4 inches in diameter. You should be able to get 10-12 out of a package of puff pastry.
5. Place about 2-3 tablespoons or so of the meat & onion mixture into the center, careful to stay away from the edges.
6. Brush a little bit of the beaten egg onto the edges, then fold up the empanada. Pinch all around the edges to seal, then brush the tops of them with more of the egg. Place onto a lightly greased baking sheet -- although lately I've been using parchment paper for stuff like this, which works great too.
7. Cook for about 25-30 minutes or until they turn golden.

Little bit of green onion on top if you'd like -- eat them while they're hot! Of course, you could just use beef or pork instead of bison, but where's the fun in that? Maybe next time I'll get even more adventurous and make my own dough for these empanadas.

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