Plated empanadas with avocado cream

So we finally had a beautiful weekend, and just in time. This weekend was the first farm event, of the season, for our new CSA. After not joining a CSA for the last few years we decided to get involved again and chose Good Earth Farm, in Oakfield, WI as our new CSA. The event, this past weekend, gave us a chance to meet Nicole, one of the owners, along with a couple of people working for a share. While not much is happening in the fields yet, except for garlic, the greenhouse was in full swing, and by the looks of things, there were plenty of plants just waiting for the first nice week to be planted outside. I won't dwell too much on our CSA today as I'm sure there will be plenty of posts about Good Earth Farm once the produce starts rolling in.

This weekend we were also able to finally get the deck together, getting the canvas on the "gazebo" and the table and chairs out. I even had a chance to take full advantage of the set up and spent an hour relaxing and reading on the deck. Oh yeah, I also got the first mowing of the season in. This year I was able to get it done before the grass grew knee high!

The nice weather also brought out the neighbors and it was great to reacquaint ourselves with them after the long, cold winter during which we don't see much of each other. Overall, a great weekend!

I was in a "Latin" mood today so I thought I'd surprise my wife with homemade empanadas. Empanadas come in all shapes and sizes, and with many different fillings and crusts. Some are baked while others are fried. I have a whole arsenal of different empanada doughs, but I also often just use my tried and true pie dough recipe. It makes a great, light and flaky empanada pastry, especially if you are baking them. I will even admit to occasionally using store bought pie dough if I am pressed for time, although I try not to do that too often.

I still have plenty of chorizo, sitting in my freezer, from my foray into sausage making so I figured I would base my filling on that. Add a few potatoes and a little onion and you have the makings of a great filling. The chorizo is spicy enough and complex enough that you don't need much else.

Chorizo Empandas
makes 16 empanadas enough to serve 4-5 people

2 batches pie dough for a double crust (your favorite recipe)
1 pound Mexican chorizo
1 1/2 pounds waxy potatoes (something like a red bliss or Yukon Gold)
1 medium onion

Divide the pie dough evenly into 16 pieces, roll into balls and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Peel the potatoes and cut into a 1/4-1/2″ dice. Place in cold, salted water, bring to a boil and cook for 8-10 minutes, just until al dente. Rinse under cold water. Remove casings from the chorizo and cook in a skillet over high heat along with the diced up onion. When cooked through add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes longer. Taste for seasoning and add salt, if necessary. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. As chorizo mixture is cooling remove pie dough from fridge and allow to soften slightly. Working with 1 dough ball at a time, roll out dough into a 5″ circle. Brush edge with water and place 2 Tbs. of the filling in the center. Fold the edges together and crimp, with a fork to seal. Place on a greased sheet tray. Repeat with remaining dough. You will have leftover filling, but it makes a great mix in for scrambled eggs the next morning for a mexican inspired breakfast. Bake in a preheated oven, at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is lightly golden brown. While empanadas are baking make the Avocado Cream.

Avocado Cream
makes approximately 2 1/2 cups

1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 jalapeno, with seeds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup half and half
2 avocados

Place sour cream, lemon juice, half and half, and jalapeno in a blender and blend until smooth. Peel, pit, and dice the avocado and add to the blender. Blend until smooth, adding more half and half only if necessary to keep the contents blending. It should be thick like thick mayonnaise. Season with salt. To store, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic down, onto the surface of the avocado cream.

Serve the empanadas with a few dollops of the avocado cream and garnish with pico de gallo or diced tomato and cilantro.

Plated empanadas with avocado cream