Mushroom and Swiss Chard Empanadas

Recipe courtesy of Chef Susan Feniger and Chef Mary Sue Milliken of Cuidad, Los Angeles, CA


Yield: 6 servings


Mushroom Filling:

2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 pound fresh white or oyster mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped

1½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 chiles de arbol, stemmed, seeded and finely ground, or ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 bunch epazote or parsley, leaves only, roughly chopped

¾ cup grated Cotija cheese (or aged Romano or Parmesan)

¼ cup grated melting cheese (Asadero, Manchego, Panela, Jack)

Swiss Chard Filling:

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large white onion, peeled and diced

½ tsp. salt (or to taste depending on the saltiness of the cheeses)

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 bunches Swiss Chard, washed, trimmed, leaves cut in small pieces, stems cut in ½” dice

¾ cup grated Cotija cheese (or aged Romano or Parmesan)

¼ cup grated melting cheese (Asadero, Manchego, Panela, Jack)

Squeeze of fresh lime

Empanada Dough:

2 cups flour

½ cup chilled lard (or substitute unsalted butter)

2½ Tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled

½ tsp. salt

about ⅓ cup iced water

1 tbsp. annatto or chili powder (add to dough for mushroom empanadas, for color)

1 egg beaten, for egg wash


Mushroom Filling:

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Sauté onion until it just begins to brown.  Add garlic and cook until the aroma is released, about 1 minute longer.  Add the mushrooms, salt, pepper and arbol chiles and remaining butter, if necessary.  Continue cooking until mushrooms soften, 5 minutes.  Stir in the epazote or parsley and briefly cook just to release its flavor, about a minute.  Set aside to cool. Stir cheeses into cooled mushroom mixture before assembling empanadas.

Swiss Chard Filling:

Heat olive oil in a frying pan and add onion, salt and pepper.  Cook over moderate heat until onions are soft and begin to turn lightly golden.  Add chard stems and cook a minute or two then add the chard leaves and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool.  Mix cooled chard with grated cheeses and lime juice and adjust seasoning, as necessary.

Empanada Dough:

In a large bowl combine flour, lard, butter and salt.  Mix lightly with your fingers until the dough forms pea-sized pieces.  Stir in iced water and lightly knead until dough forms a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight.

To assemble empanadas: 

On a lightly floured board, roll the dough out to ⅛” thickness and cut 6 circles about 5″ each or 12 smaller circles.  Place fillings onto half of circle of dough leaving a border; wet the edges of the dough with the egg wash, then fold the dough over to enclose the filling.  Seal the edges by pressing the top to the bottom with the tines of a fork.  Chill at least 30 minutes before baking.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Place empanadas on a baking sheet and brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with freshly cracked pepper.  With a sharp knife, cut small slits in the top of each empanada to allow steam to escape.  Bake 30 minutes or until dough is golden.  Transfer to a cooling rack to cool slightly.

For appetizer serving, place one Mushroom and one Swiss Chard Empanada on plate. Serve warm or at room temperature with green tomatillo salsa and chipotle crema.


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