Something Original

I toyed with titling this post “Kohlrabi Part II” but thought better of it. I suspect you will all be sick of hearing me rave about kohlrabi by the end of this summer. But until then, welcome to a second adventurous recipe using kohlrabi.

I often putz around in the kitchen, twisting perfectly normal recipes into oddities, much to the ire of my boyfriend, D. All the poor guy wants is a veggie burger and some stuffing prepared out of a box. I don’t like things when they’re so simple. Why not try something new and different, right?

Thus, inspired by my time in Argentina earlier this year, a passing conversation with a farm volunteer on Saturday who’d studied in Buenos Aires, and my current adoration of the aforementioned vegetable, I went into the kitchen to come up with a unique fusion of South American and Indian ingredients.

When I was in Mendoza in the northwest of Argentina, I consumed (voraciously, I might add) the most interesting corn and red pepper empanadas, which I’ve since recreated at home. My time at the farm this weekend yielded more kohlrabi (of the white variety this time) and very tender yellow squash, along with some scallions and radishes. Gathering those together in one recipe tucked into a pocket of flaky dough proved to be pure genius, if I do say so myself. D agrees (and he’s a tough customer).

Without further ado, I present Kohlrabi & Squash Empanadas, an original “straight from the farm”.

Kohlrabi & Squash Empanadas

  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 inch of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 medium kohlrabies, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 large summer squash, cut into small cubes
  • 2 large scallions, both white and green parts, finely cut
  • 1 radish, minced (optional)
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T. butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 box of pre-made pie crust or one batch homemade*
  • 1 egg

In a medium skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger to brown. Add kohlrabi cubes, a pinch of salt and some pepper. Toss well and cook 3 or 4 minutes until kohlrabi are softening a bit. Add squash cubes and continue to cook for 4 more minutes. Add scallions, radish, nutmeg and another pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well and cook for one minute before removing from heat. Set mixture to this side to cool.

Roll out dough to be a little thinner than pie crust typically is. If you are using pre-made crust from the store, run your rolling pin over it once or twice. Using a cereal bowl or large circular cookie cutter, cut out 6 inch-ish circles from the dough. It should yield about 15, give or take depending on your cutter and dough thickness.

Pre-heat oven to 425F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Prepare egg wash by beating egg with a teaspoon of water and set to the side along with a small bowl of water.

To make the empanadas, spoon one tablespoon of kohlrabi and squash mixture into the center of a circle of dough. (It’s better to have less filling than too much or the empanadas won’t hold together. Feel out the right ratio that allows you to close off the dough without any filling popping out.) Dip your finger in the bowl of water and run it around the outside edge of the dough. Fold dough over the filling to create a half circle. Press down edges. Carefully pick up the dough pocket and pinch edges (see photo) to seal them tightly. A fork can also be used to crimp the edges if you want a less tedious method.

Repeat above process to finish all the empanadas, laying them on the lined cookie sheet when done. With a fork, prick the tops once and brush with egg wash. Bake for 8 minutes and turn over. Bake another 5 to 7 minutes until deep golden brown and flaky. Best served straight from the oven.

*A word about the dough. For this particular post, I used pre-made pie crust since I was in a hurry to get to the party where I was premiering these little lovelys. Normally, I use my standard pie crust recipe. I have to admit the pre-made crust was just as good (and a heck of a lot faster). However, I still intend to try this recipe for true empanada dough at some point. In short, make it as simple or intricate as you like.

**Also, I’m sure you could add chicken to this recipe and it’d be quite tasty. In fact, you could just serve the filling on its own for a quick side dish when you’re too short on time to make the empanadas.

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