Butternut Squash Empanada with Baby Greens Vinaigrette

butternutSquashEmpanada2

By Executive Chef James Massey
CANYON RANCH
CanyonRanch.com/Lenox

Chef Massey, executive chef of Canyon Ranch in Lenox, a transplant from the West Coast by way of Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, brought Southwest influences with him to Lenox. Served at the ranch, this empanada is baked, not fried; 1 empanada with a cup of dressed greens weighs in at 147 calories.

APPLE CIDER VINAIGRETTE:

¼ cup cider vinegar
2 cups apple cider (Chef uses Hilltop Orchards cider.)
¼ cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate overnight. Remove cinnamon sticks in the morning.

Makes 2½ cups or 20 (2-tablespoon) servings.

EMPANADA FILLING:

2 pounds roasted butternut squash (1 medium-size squash)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ounce unsalted butter
1 ounce maple syrup (Chef uses Fitting Creek Farm in Ghent, New York.)
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 whole egg
6 ounces goat cheese (Chef uses Vermont Butter and Cheese Co., Websterville, VT)
4 sheets premade piecrust, available in most markets (At the ranch they make
their own pastry dough, controlling all nutritional components.)
2 tablespoons flour
2 eggs mixed for wash
1 pound mixed baby greens (Chef uses Markristo Farms-Hillsdale through end of October)
Greens are also available from Equinox Farm in Sheffield all year round at most retail markets.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH:

Cut open 1 medium butternut squash, discard seeds, peel and cube in 1-inch dice. Lightly toss with olive oil; lay on baking sheet and roast at 350° for 25 minutes. Squash is done when lightly browned and soft. Remove and cool 10 minutes in refrigerator.

Purée roasted squash in food processor until smooth. Add butter, maple syrup, salt, pepper and 1 egg; pulse to mix well. Add 1 teaspoon flour to thicken, if needed; pulse again. Place mixture in a bowl and set aside.

On a flat, lightly floured surface, open up 1 sheet of piecrust at a time. Using a pastry cutter, glass container or plastic deli container, cut 4 (4-inch) circles in each sheet. Lightly flour each circle and put aside; stacked up is fine. Gather dough scraps, roll out flat and cut remaining circles, yielding 18 total.

At this point you could refrigerate the above, continuing when your guests arrive. You could have them participate in the assembly, helping to make their own hors d’oeuvres.

In a small bowl mix 2 eggs and 2 tablespoons water, creating egg wash. Set aside.

Take 1 piecrust round at a time, place 3 tablespoons of butternut squash mix in center and top with 2 teaspoons goat cheese. Dip finger in egg wash and go around the outer edge of the circle. Fold over to create half-moon and seal by pressing down with fork. Continue around the half-moon until completely sealed. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Take egg wash and brush on top of each empanada.

Bake in oven at 375° for 10–12 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to slightly cool on a pastry rack.

In a mixing bowl, toss greens with vinaigrette to taste. Place 1 or 2 empanadas and a cup of salad on plate for appetizer and serve.

butternutSquashEmpanada

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