Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dandelion Green and Goat Cheese Empanadas

Our favorite Argentinian restaurant here in Houston is Marini's Empanadas.  We order a big assortment of empanadas every time we eat there. Our favorites include the Dulce de Leche dessert empanada, and the Humita with creamed corn and cheeses.  At just over $2 each, they're so affordable and delicious, we never planned to make empanadas at home.  But then we discovered this recipe in the L.A. Times, and couldn't resist making empanadas using our Red Rib Italian Dandelion greens from the garden.  The ribs of the dandelion greens keep their red color when cooked, making the filling as pretty as it is tasty.  This is a time-consuming recipe, so save these empanadas for a weekend project, or break it up into two nights.  The unbaked empanadas keep in the fridge for up to two days.

Dandelion Green and Goat Cheese Empanadas

adapted from


1          cup              whole-wheat flour
1 1/4    cup              unbleached A.P.flour
                                sea salt and black pepper
1/2       cup               (1 stick) butter, cubed and cold
1/2       tsp                cider vinegar
1                              egg, separated
                                ice water
3                              large bunches dandelion greens
1 1/2    cup              onion, finely chopped (about 1 onion)
1          cup               leek sliced thinly (about 1 leek)
1/4       cup               olive oil
3                              cloves garlic, minced
1/8       tsp                red pepper flakes
1/4       tsp                cayenne
11        oz                goat cheese
1/2       cup              grated Pecorino Romano
                                Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the whole-wheat and all-purpose flours, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is reduced to pea-sized pieces. 
  2. In a measuring cup, whisk together the vinegar and egg yolk (reserving the egg white) and add enough ice-cold water to bring the volume to one-half cup. Add the liquid to the processor in a steady stream while pulsing. 
  3. Continue to pulse just until the mixture looks crumbly and damp, and the dough just adheres when pressed together. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the dandelion greens for about 1 minute to bring out the color and soften slightly. Drain and immediately run under cold water to stop the cooking process.  Coarsely chop, then squeeze the chopped greens in a towel to remove as much liquid as possible and set aside.
  6. In a large pan, cook the onions and leeks in the olive oil over medium heat until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook until the garlic is aromatic, about 1 minute. Stir in 1/4 tsp salt, the pepper flakes, 1/4 tsp black pepper and the cayenne. Remove from heat and cool. 
  7. In a large bowl, combine the cheeses, dandelion greens and onion mixture. 
  8. Divide the chilled empanada dough into 8 disk-shaped portions. On a floured work surface, roll out each portion of dough into an approximately 7-inch circle. Place one-third cup of the filling in the lower middle section of the circle. Whisk the reserved egg white in a small bowl and use it to brush the outer edges of the lower half of the dough. Fold the dough in half over the filling, pressing the edges and making sure there are no air pockets. Trim any rough or uneven parts and either crimp the edges with your fingers or use a fork to seal the edges. 
  9. Place the empanadas on a silpat-lined baking sheet. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake until puffed and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a rack. The empanadas will keep, unbaked and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.


  1. I actually have eaten at Marini's. I thought their empanadas were great! Close to my grandmother's chilean empanadas.

  2. Great empanadas, and I love dandelions, I bought 3 bunches I need to cook! I want your empanadas... and your garden!

  3. Oh my goodness! I am making these tonight!

  4. Wow! Hope my neighbours won't be too surprised when they see me scouring around for fresh dandelions :D I don't think you can buy them here but there're plenty of them everywhere in May :D Do you also have the recipe for dandelion wine? :))

  5. Love those empanadas!! they look delightful!

  6. Better love those empadanas. Beautiful combination.


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