Empanadas with Swiss Chard, Ricotta and Bell Pepper

empanadasThe great thing about empanadas is that anything goes. Whatever you have in the kitchen can be sealed in dough, then baked or fried. It's a fun way to play with flavor combinations.

I knew I wanted swiss chard and ricotta together. I had some shallots, so in those went. Some salt, pepper and lemon juice to bring out the taste of everything. I found the chard to be a little bitter still, so I diced some red bell pepper and added that for sweetness. It worked! Flavor and color balance with one addition.

empanadas

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even if you end up with a tasty but monochromatic empanada filling, it doesn't matter because it all gets wrapped up anyway. (I've been working on my empanada sealing technique. It's not quite there, but I have a few weeks left to master it before I leave Buenos Aires.)


Empanadas with Chard, Ricotta and Bell Pepper

Original recipe, makes 12 empanadas

  • a few leaves of swiss chard (about a pound before removing stems)
  • 2 shallots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste
  • 12 rounds of empanada dough

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Chop off the tough stalks of the swiss chard (you can save and use these in a stir-fry or something, but the texture isn't ideal for empanada filler), then chop up the leaves. Sautee chard, shallots and bell pepper with a little butter or olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

In a bowl, mix vegetables and ricotta. Adjust seasoning as necessary.

Put about two large spoonfuls of filling in the center of the empanada rounds, then seal and place on a baking sheet. I had a little bit of oil on the pan, but didn't give the empanadas an egg wash glaze. If you want a nice shine, mix a little egg and milk and brush it on the dough before baking.

Bake 15-20 minutes. (I took mine out on the early end because I knew I'd be baking the leftovers again to heat them up. Plus I didn't have the egg wash so they didn't crisp up much. Maybe not as traditional, but I love things doughy.)

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7 Replies to “Empanadas with Swiss Chard, Ricotta and Bell Pepper”

  1. ooh, those look so great! and healthy 🙂
    I’ll make you a deal: you send me a few of these empanadas, and I’ll share with you the salt I got from Marx foods!

  2. Olga — One of these things travels better than the other… 😉

    But yes, these are on the healthier side, which is good since I live on my own and ate all 12 over the course of a few days. Still, next time, some get shipped to DC…

  3. SarahKate — I’m in Buenos Aires right now, so I have several options of store-bought empanada dough. If you have an Latin market near you, they would likely have some chilled packages. I’ve never made it from scratch, so I can’t recommend a particular recipe, but they abound online. Another option would be to experiment with other store-bought doughs. As I wrote in the post, the fun is finding new filling ideas and then wrapping it all up. Perhaps see what you can do with samosa dough or egg roll sheets (which would be a lot thinner…maybe double up?). Puff pastry dough is much flakier, but I can envision this filling with it. Good luck!

  4. I love getting new empanada filling ideas. I live in Florida and we can get several brands of premade empanada dough. Usually in the freezer section. Your photos are good!

  5. My mother teaches traditional empanadas Argentinas (in Adrogue, Buenos Aires), baked and fried, the type that are made in the north of Argentina are the fried ones and are so good!
    She came to visit me last week (in Miami), and for the first time I made her empanada dough! super easy and oh so tasty! In fact, it was a little hard to find the main ingredient in the supermarket, but we found it! it is called lard. In Miami is easy to find this element as supermarkets carry a lot of latin ingredients. If you want to read her recipe, we posted on the blog: http://try2cook.com/blog/2009/11/empandas-cooking-class-in-buenos-aires
    Her beef filing is very tasty.
    Saludos!
    Graciela

  6. Graciela — Ah yes, I have heard of your mother’s class. I’m not in Buenos Aires anymore, but thanks for telling me about her recipe. I’m in Los Angeles now, which has many Latino markets that I’m sure carry lard 🙂

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