Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday’s Helping: Variations on Guam Empanada

Some substitutions in a pinch

The Mixed Stew crew suggests substituting small chunks of boneless chicken breast meat for the drumsticks to lessen the calorie count.  If you’re pressed for time, use canned chicken meat to speed things up a bit.  You can use regular rice instead of cream of rice but remember to account for the large and whole rice grains.  We’ve also had Guam empanadas made with pieces of pork and even crab bits.  Lastly, try baking these babies instead of frying them for healthier empanadas.     

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Guam Empanadas

Hot pocket history

Yes, this is our rendition of Guam’s red-colored empanadas.  These turnover pies, which can come in with an assortment of fillings throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, originated in Spain and Portugal.  Look for these at local “mom and pop” stores and island gas stations in Guam.  Remember that the island was a Spanish colony for over two centuries.  This favorite comes traditionally stuffed with a tasty filling of corn meal, cream of rice, and chicken pieces.  Meanwhile, the chopped onion, garlic, and annatto flavors make for a savory meat pie.  Guamanians love ‘em.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Traditional Guam Empanadas

Meat pies in w/ a blush

Biting into one of these empanadas is a surprising treat.  The Mixed Stew has enjoyed these since childhood and we hope you’ll enjoy them, too.

What you will need:

1 long wooden spoon
1 pair of tongs
1 cutting board
1 metal baking pan with wire rack
1 cast-iron skillet
1 large stock pot w/ lid
1 large baking sheet
Wax paper
1 rolling pin
1 metal fork
2 packs Goya brand discs for empanada (10 per pack) Select the red colored ones.
Meat of 6 chicken drumsticks, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 yellow onion, chopped small
3 tablespoons cooking oil (for filling)
2 ½ cups canola oil (for frying empanadas)
2 cups chicken broth
2 ½ cups water
3 garlic toes, minced
1 to 3 jalapenos, chopped
1 tablespoon achiote/ annatto powder
1 cup corn meal
¾ cup cream of rice
Salt to taste

Cooking and Directions:

Meat filling

Heat stock pot at medium-high heat.  Add oil, onion, jalapenos, and garlic. Stir well.  Let ingredients sautee until onion turns translucent.  Pour in chicken pieces and let pieces cook.  Add salt to taste.  Stir well.  Pour in chicken broth, achiote, and water.  Cover pot with lid.  Lower heat to medium.  Ingredients should reach a slow simmer and cook for 15 minutes. 

Next, gradually stir in cream of rice and corn meal.  The broth should thicken into a porridge-like consistency.  Mix well.  Return lid and let filling cook for another 10 minutes on medium-low heat.  Be careful not to burn filling to bottom of pot by occasionally stirring.  Remove finished filling from stove and let contents cool to room temperature before stuffing empanadas.     

Stuffing Empanadas

Pull Goya discs packages out from freezer the night before.  Place them in the fridge overnight to defrost.  Take packages out of fridge about ½ hour before it’s time to stuff empanadas.  Prepare a clean cutting board, wax paper, and rolling pin for handling dough.  Line the bottom of metal baking sheet with wax paper. 

Handle discs of dough with wax paper since they’re fragile.  You may roll dough into larger (in diameter) discs to make even bigger turnovers.  Place each discs between two leaves of wax paper then press and roll dough from the center of the discs to the outer edge until content with the larger size. 

Spoon chicken filling onto ½ of each disc then fold over the other half of the circle to form a turnover.  Press dough edges together with metal fork.  This seals and forms the empanada.  Repeat process until 20 empanadas are completed.  Let empanadas rest on baking sheet (lined with wax paper) for at least 20 minutes before frying.  You may choose to freeze empanadas at this point in time to fry at a later date.

Frying Empanadas

Heat cast-iron skillet filled on medium-high heat.  Pour in canola oil and let it heat to 350 degrees.  The oil needs to be hot!  Carefully place 3 or 4 turnovers (depending on size) in skillet.  Let the empanadas fry on each side until golden crust forms.  Place crispy empanadas on wire rack over baking pan.  Let them rest for at least 10 minutes.  Repeat process until all turnovers have been fried.  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday’s Helping: Lighter Sausage –N- Creamed Gravy

Flavor that’s dietary conscious

If you need to cut the fat, the Mixed Stew crew suggests using chicken or turkey sausages instead of pork or beef.  Coincidentally, venison sausages may be a leaner bet, on the hips, but they’re still considered red meat.  Try reducing the meat to veggie ratio by creating real creamed meat gravy.  Also, add more bite by including other fresh veggies, such as carrots, bell peppers, or even green beans. Finally, remember that you can find low-sodium cream of chicken that’s better for hypertension.     

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Sausage with Creamed Gravy

A British/ American amalgam

The Mixed Stew crew, again, stresses the simplicity in making this week’s dish.  Grilled meat sausages lend their flavors to the zucchini, onion, and peppers to make a well-rounded goulash with extra oomph.  Yes, The Mixed Stew was inspired--just a little-- by that American comfort food fave – Sausage Gravy w/ Biscuits.  Meanwhile, this week's recipe amounts to a slight twist on that British staple—Bangers and Mash.  We recommend that you try it.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Grilled Sausage w/ Creamed Gravy

Making sausages a real meal, again

You’ll like this as a simple but hefty supper for the family. Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 large fry pan w/ lid
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 yellow onion, chopped small
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 zucchini, cut into cubes
1 (11 oz.) can cream of chicken
6 meat sausages – such as bratwurst  (The Mixed Stew used Cerdito pork sausage by Sausage Craft.)
 1 and 1/2 cup water
1 jalapeno, julienned sliced

Cooking and Directions:

Heat pan at medium-high heat.  Pour in ½ cup water.  Place uncooked sausages in pan. Let water reach a constant simmer and cover w/ lid.  Lower heat to medium.  Let sausages cook for 10 to 15 minutes.  Water should evaporate. Turn links occasionally.  Allow sausages to grill and fry once water dries up.  Remove finished fried sausages from pan.  Set aside.

Throw down onion, garlic, and jalapeno peppers in pan w/ sausage drippings.  Let ingredients sautee until onion turn translucent.  Next, pour in zucchini and let them sautee until tender.  Pour in cream of chicken from can along with an equal amount of water.  Stir well.  Let chicken gravy heat through until it simmers.  Serve immediately with rice or mashed potatoes.    

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday’s Helping: Making Mustard Chicken Lighter

Lower calorie mustard fried chicken

Why not, right? The Mixed Stew suggests easing off the calories in our recipe by using skinless drumsticks.  Otherwise, use skinless chicken breasts for even leaner bites.  Remove the deep-fried calories by preparing oven-fried chicken.  Use corn flakes if you decide to bake instead of fry your chicken to create that golden-fried crust that we usually expect.