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Entreé

Venison Empanadas with Golden Raisins & Pecans

empanadas on a table with a bottle of wine

Ingredients

Empanada Dough:
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. salt
3 oz. unsalted butter, diced
3 oz. lard, diced
1 large egg, beaten
½ c. ice water

Empanadas:
1 lb. venison stew meat, cut into one-inch dice
salt and pepper
3 T. vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
1 Granny Smith apple, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 c. golden raisins
1 ½ c. chicken broth
1 tsp. smoked paprika
pinch ground cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
1 bay leaf
1 c. pecans, toasted and chopped
1 egg, beaten

Preparation

Empanada Dough Preparation: Combine the flour and salt in the work bowl of a stand mixer. Add the butter and lard and mix with the paddle attachment until crumbly. Add the beaten egg and the ice water. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Remove from the bowl and finish kneading by hand until smooth. Pat into a disk and refrigerate for one hour. Remove from the refrigerator and roll on a well-floured work surface to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into 4 ½ inch circles with a round pastry cutter. Gather all pastry scraps up and rollout one more time. Recipe yields approximately 24 disks. Stuff with desired filling.

Empanada Preparation: Season venison with salt and pepper. Place a wide-bottom skillet over high heat. When pan is hot, add the oil to the pan, followed by the venison. Sear on all sides and remove to a plate. Add the onion and apple to the pan and sauté until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute to soften. Stir in tomato and raisins. Cook for 5 minutes to thicken the tomatoes. Add the chicken broth, spices and bay leaf. Return the venison to the pan, bring to a simmer, turn the heat to low and cover. Cook for 2 ½ hours until venison is tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped pecans. Taste for seasoning and refrigerate until cool.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out the empanada dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8” thick. Cut 4½” circles from the dough. Gather the remaining dough together in a ball and roll out once more. Cut more circles and discard any remaining dough. You should wind up with 24 circles. Place the circles of dough back in the refrigerator if the dough is too soft to work with. Once pastry is firm enough to work with, place several circles on a floured work surface, brush with the beaten egg and place a heaping tablespoon of the filling in the middle, bring the two edges together over of the filling. Starting from the middle and working out, press edges together with your fingers to seal them together. Once sealed, crimp the seal to form a wavy pattern. Set on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with the remaining egg and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Enjoy with a glass of Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon.