I went to college in Cedar Falls...and when I wanted to go out for a "nice" dinner, I always chose Montage! The first thing I would do when I went there was place an appetizer order for their Spinach and Cheese Empanadas. I don't live there anymore, and on my last visit, I found Montage no longer had these little gems on their menu :( For our upcoming girls vacation this week, I decided I was going to try and re-create them. As long as I was making a mess...I decided to make a mushroom filling too.
First, I gathered my ingredients for both fillings. They need to chill for a little while before you place them in the dough.
Steamy and a little hard to see....but I first cooked my spinach in about an inch of water. I then drained and chopped it.
In a second pan, I added about 2 cups of chopped button mushrooms, with half a white onion (finely diced) and 2 cloves of garlic (grated). I cooked this mixture in 1 TBS of olive oil over medium-high heat.
After removing the spinach from the water, I used the same skillet to cook half of a red bell pepper (diced) with half of a white onion and 3 cloves of garlic in 1 TBS of olive oil. After this mixture started to soften, I added the chopped spinach to the mixture.
While both fillings finished cooking, I started my Bechamel Sauce...1 TBS butter with 1 TBS of flour and 1 1/2 cups of skim milk. Cook until the mixture thickens, season with a pinch of nutmeg and 1/2 tsp black pepper.
Add 2/3 of the mixture to the spinach filling and the remaining to the mushroom filling. I also used a 3.5 oz package of unflavored goat cheese. I divided the cheese between the fillings just as I did the Bechamel and stirred until the cheese melted. I seasoned with additional black pepper and some salt...just to taste. Then I put both fillings into containers to refrigerate.
This was my entertainment while cooking! Robyn was wearing Mrs. Potato Head's ears :)
The Empanada Dough was so easy!
2 1/4 cups Flour
1 Stick of Butter
1 TBS of Vinegar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup of ice water...adding only what is needed.
I used my food processor for this- first I mixed the butter and flour. Then I added the salt, egg, vinegar and a little water.
I added water 1 TBS at a time until the dough came together in a ball. So easy!!
Very soft and smooth dough- allow to rest for 10 minutes and then roll out very thin.
Use a biscuit cutter to make your circles. I actually used my Empanada mold for this, but found it was not great when it came to filling and sealing my Empanadas.
Place a SMALL amount of filling in each circle and fold in half. Use a fork to seal the edges.
One recipe made 16-18 (3 inch) Empanadas. I froze mine on a baking sheet and once frozen, transferred into large Ziploc bags.
Of course, I did sample a few :) I baked mine at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. The Spinach filling was pretty close...not sure Montage used goat cheese, but I liked them! Still working on my dipping sauce!