Canuck Empanadas

Canadian-style empanadas with peameal bacon, cheddar and sage

Canuck Empanadas

So my plan here was, to make an empanada that captured what it’s like to eat ‘Canadian’ food, using indigenous ingredients. I knew it would be a challenge because our northern climate doesn’t lend itself well to bountiful miracles of nature. But after some research it turns out there are some cool ingredients indigenous to Canada (and more generously the northern Americas) and with some reprieve they form a delicious pocket pie.

I relented my quest for using purely indigenous ingredients and used ingredients typically associated with Canada, like peameal bacon and maple syrup. (I know, pigs are not native to Canada, but hey, we love our back bacon) as well as some others that are native to the surrounding area. So I created Canuck Empanadas stuffed with peameal bacon, savory potatoes, Oka and Balderson cheddar, caramelized onions and shallots and dandelion greens, in a maple syrup egg wash dusted with a sunflower seed and sage crumble. All you need now is a plaid checkered shirt and a hockey stick and voila, a true Canuck experience.

Turns out, they were pretty damn delicious.

There are several components in these pies, so I’ll break up this post into its constituent parts.

Makes about 18 three by six-inch rectangular empanadas.

Use the Basic Empanada Dough Recipe here, but don’t use the final egg wash step, instead, substitute for the maple syrup egg wash found below

Canuck Empanadas

Filling:

Ingredients

Whole peameal bacon - approximately 1 pound - (recipe follows)
Savory potatoes (recipe follows)
Caramelized onions and shallots (recipe follow)
1 ½ cups of dandelion greens, finely chopped
½ cup of Oka cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes
½ cup of Balderson cheddar, cut into ½ inch cubes

 Method

Peameal Bacon

Whole roasted peameal bacon - close up

 Preheat oven to 375F

Place peameal bacon on a small parchment-lined roasting pan or casserole dish

Roast for approximately 35-45 minutes, or until the outside is a rich golden colour and crispy. The bacon is already cooked; here we are really just crisping up the outside and getting rid of some of the moisture.

Remove from oven and let cool.

Once cool enough to handle, cut into ½ inch cubes

Savoury Potatoes

Ingredients

2 cups of Yukon Gold potatoes, skinned and chopped into ½ inch cubes
1 tablespoon of grape seed oil (or vegetable oil)
1 ½ tablespoon of summer savory
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 375F

Toss all ingredients together and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet

Bake for 15 minutes, turning half way through

Remove and let cool completely

 

Caramelized Onions and Shallots

Ingredients

1 large onion, peeled and sliced
4-5 shallots, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons of butter

 Method

 Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat

Add onions and shallots and coat evenly with butter

Stir occasionally and let them achieve a brown colour

Reduce heat slightly and continue to brown for about 25 minuets

If they start to burn, add a splash of water and stir

Remove from heat and let cool

 

Sunflower and Sage Crumble

Sunflower and sage crumble for Canuck empandas

 

 Ingredients

½ cup of shelled sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon of fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
½ teaspoon of smoked salt (optional)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
Pinch of chili flakes (optional)

 Method

 Preheat oven to 300F

 On a parchment-lined baking sheet place sunflower seeds in a single layer

 Roast in the oven for approximately 15 minutes or until golden, giving the baking sheet a shake half-way through

 Remove from oven and let cool completely

 Once cooled, chop the sunflower seeds roughly and combine with remaining ingredients

 Toss and set aside

Maple Syrup Egg Wash

Use this in place of the regular egg wash found in the basic empanada dough recipe

Ingredients

2 ½ tablespoons of maple syrup
2 eggs
1 tablespoon tepid water

Method

Whisk all ingredients together

Assembly

Canuck empanada filling with peameal bacon, savoury potatoes and cheddar

Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. This keeps the cheese from melting and makes stuffing the empanada dough much easier.

 In a large bowl combine the chopped peameal bacon, savory potatoes, caramelized onions and shallots, dandelion greens and both of the cheeses.

 Stuff each of the prepared 6 by 6-inch dough squares with about ¼ cup of filling mixture

Basic empanada dough

Canuck empanada filling with peameal bacon, savoury potatoes and cheddar

 Brush edges with room temperature water, fold over and seal by either pinching with fingertips or with the prongs of a large fork.

 Assemble on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with the maple syrup egg wash

 Top each empanada with a sprinkle of the sunflower seed and sage crumble.

Canuck empanadas

 Chill in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes. At this point, you can freeze the empanadas if you wish

 Preheat oven to 350F and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden

Canuck empanadas with peameal bacon, savoury potatoes and cheddar

Canuck empanadas with peameal bacon, savoury potatoes and cheddar

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