This is great way to use wild potherbs, or stewing greens. Wild lettuces, dandelions, mallow, wild onions, fennel, orach or lamb’s quarters are all good in this recipe. You can use domestic greens like kale, chard, turnip greens or the like, too.
Use good fresh mushrooms for this recipe, as they are a star in it. I use chanterelles when I can get them, but any quality mushroom will do — even the brown creminis from the supermarket. You can buy good mushrooms online from Earthy Delights if you are so inclined.
The dough in these empanadas is adapted from the empanada recipe in the great Argentine cookbook Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way, and it is an odd combination of Chinese potsticker wrapper, pasta and pie dough. If you have a favorite empanada dough recipe, feel free to substitute it.
This recipe makes a lot of little empanadas: Depending on the size, you could get as many as 60 here. But they are fun to eat both hot and cold and keep well for days. If you have extra dough you can freeze it for up to a month.
Makes about 60 small empanadas
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 3 1/2 tablespoons lard, shortening or butter
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups rye or whole wheat flour
- 2 cups chopped fresh chanterelles or other mushrooms
- 1/2 chopped onion
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 7 ounces (1 package) feta cheese
- 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds of assorted wild or domestic greens, roughly chopped
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 egg
- To make the dough, bring the water and 1 1/2 tablespoons salt to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the lard. Let this cool to room temperature.
- Sift the flours in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the water-lard mixture into the well and slowly incorporate the flour with a fork. Eventually it’ll become a shaggy mass.
- Knead the dough a little and add more flour if it is still sticky. Don’t knead more than 5 minutes or the dough will get tough.
- Cut the big dough ball into 4 pieces, wrap with plastic and set in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 24 hours.
- To make the filling, Get a large frying pan hot and add the mushrooms. Stir fry them until they release their water, and when they do add a pinch of salt. When the water is dissipating and the mushrooms sound like they are frying again, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the chopped onion and toss everything to combine.
- Cook this over medium-high heat until the onions begin to color. Pour off into a bowl and add the toasted pine nuts — if you have never toasted pine nuts before, put them in a dry pan over medium heat, shaking them often, until they brown a little and smell lovely. Keep an eye on them, though! Pine nuts can burn easily.
- In the large frying pan, get another tablespoon or two of olive oil hot over medium-high heat. Add the greens and gently mix to coat everything with oil. It will be too much for your pan at first, but the greens will cook down dramatically.
- Once they are well wilted but still a vibrant green, turn off the heat and pour the greens into the bowl with the rest of the filling. Mix well and let cool.
- After the filling cools, crumble the feta cheese into it and mix well.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- To make the empanadas, roll out one ball at a time — leaving the others in the fridge — either with a pasta machine or a rolling pin. You are looking for about 1/8 inch, which is No. 3 on my Atlas.
- Using a 3 1/2 inch pastry cutter or a large water glass, cut out circles. Immediately cover them with plastic wrap and re-roll the dough you left behind. You should be able to get a couple more circles out of it. Do not re-roll the dough more than once, however, or it will get really chewy.
- Put about a tablespoon on each circle, and fold it over into a half-moon. Crimp the edges with a fork and place on an oiled baking sheet.
- Scramble the egg and add a tablespoon of water. Paint this on the empanadas right before you put them in the oven.
- Bake for 17-20 minutes.