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In the Kitchen: Breakfast Empanadas

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Yield: 9-12 empanadas

Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces cooking oil, such as avocado 
¼ cup dry white wine
3-4 tablespoons ice water, as needed

Filling:
6 large eggs
8 ounces fresh or frozen spinach
2 tablespoons butter
Cooking oil
½ yellow onion, finely minced
8 ounces Neese’s Hickory Smoked Bacon
4 to 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

For the dough:
Keep all ingredients chilled. Sift the flour, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. Pour in the oil and incorporate it into the flour using your fingertips. Add in the white wine and a couple tablespoons of ice water at a time to bring the dough together. Form into a log and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest in fridge for an hour.

For the filling:
Whisk the eggs together, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

If using frozen spinach, defrost it and squeeze out the excess water.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the butter. When melted, pour in the eggs and use a spatula to scramble them until soft and fluffy. Turn them out onto a plate or tray.

Add a tablespoon or so of cooking oil to the pan and wilt the spinach. Season with salt, and then place on a plate or tray to reserve.

Add bacon and onion to the pan and cook until the onion is translucent. Use a mesh strainer to drain off the excess oil. Once cooled, place the bacon and onion mixture in a bowl.

Forming the Empanadas:
Small bowl of water
Extra flour
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of water for egg-wash

Take the dough log and slice into disks, then use a rolling pin to roll the disks into circles. Place a spoonful of the filling in the middle of each disk.

To seal, brush half of the dough circle with a little egg-wash, and then fold in half and press together. Using your fingers, fold the edges over to create a rope-seal. Alternately, you can seal them by pressing with a flour-dusted fork.

Set oven to 400°. Place all empanadas on a parchment-lined sheet pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes to set. These can also be frozen and baked at a later date.

Brush the empanadas with egg-wash and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

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This story was published on Feb 26, 2021

Alyssa Wilen

A Charlotte native, Wilen spent more than 12 years in the restaurant industry where she worked her way up to the role of Executive Chef before opening Chef Alyssa's Kitchen in 2013. She teaches award-winning cooking classes, hosts a Saturday brunch, and has created a family dinner meal service.