Gourmet Today by Ruth Reichl (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009) is a 2010 IACP Cookbook awards finalist in the Compilations category. For a list of all the finalists check out the Project Foodie IACP Finalists' Guide.
On October 5, 2009 foodies around the globe had a shock when it was announced that the 68-year old Gourmet magazine would be no more (although the recipes continue to live and can be accessed right here on Project Foodie). The "Magazine of Good Living" influenced multiple generations in the kitchen and had recently published their latest Gourmet cookbook - Gourmet Today, thanks to which, that influence may well continue for another generation.
The Gourmet Today cookbook celebrates the changing landscape of the dinner table seen through the lens of former Editor-in-Chief Ruth Reichl, who oversaw the magazine for the past ten years. The book celebrates a time during which salsa became the number one condiment in the country; cumin became just as popular as salt and pepper; and foods like Empanadas, a stuffed bread or pastry, that originated in Spain and Portugal became commonplace. With recipes such as Chicken Empanada with Chorizo, raisins, and olives (see below), Gourmet Today truly showcases just how far we've come in terms of diverse flavor profiles.
For more on Gourmet Today check out my review with the recipe for Shrimp Gribiche.
Chicken Empanada with Chorizo, Raisins, and Olives
From Gourmet Today by Ruth Reichl (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009).
SERVES 16 AS A FIRST COURSE, 8 AS A MAIN COURSE
ACTIVE TIME: 1 HOUR START TO FINISH: 3 HOURS
The word empanada comes from the Spanish empanar, or "to cover in bread." This wonderfully savory version may be Galician-inspired, but the salty sweetness of the added olives and raisins is Moorish through and through. We simplify the process in two ways: by making one large pie rather than the more traditional small ones and by using frozen pizza dough. Cut into squares, it is equally impressive as a first course or as part of a tapas party or cocktail buffet. Or pair with a salad and serve as a main course.
- 3 whole chicken legs, including thighs (2-2¼ pounds total)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- About 4½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large onions, halved lengthwise and cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-wide strips
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California bay leaf
- 1/3 cup finely diced (casings discarded if desired) Spanish chorizo (cured spicy pork sausage)
- ½ teaspoon sweet pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)
- ¼ cup chopped green olives
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup Chicken Stock or store-bought reduced-sodium broth
- 1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed
- All-purpose flour for rolling
MAKE THE FILLING: Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Add chicken and brown, turning once, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add onions, garlic, and bay leaves to fat remaining in skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chorizo and pimentón and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add olives, raisins, wine, and stock and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits. Return chicken to skillet, along with any juices accumulated on plate, reduce heat to moderately low, cover, and simmer, turning chicken once, until tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
Transfer chicken to a clean plate. Sauce in skillet should be the consistency of heavy cream; if it's not, briskly simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes; remove from heat.
When chicken is cool enough to handle, discard skin and bones and coarsely chop meat. Stir chicken into sauce and discard bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Let filling cool, uncovered, while dough rests.
Form dough into a ball, wrap in oiled plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
FORM AND BAKE THE EMPANADA: Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 15-by-10-inch baking sheet (jelly-roll pan) with 1 tablespoon oil.
Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll out one half (keep remaining dough covered with plastic wrap) with a floured rolling pin into a 15-by-10-inch rectangle. Transfer to baking sheet. Spread filling evenly over dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around.
Roll out remaining dough in same manner. Moisten exposed border of bottom dough rectangle with water. Place top crust over filling, pressing edges together to seal. Roll edges in and press to form a decorative rim. Cut a 1-inch hole to serve as a steam vent in center of empanada.
Bake empanada for 15 minutes. Brush dough with scant tablespoon oil and bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes more. Brush empanada with scant tablespoon oil and cool for 10 minutes in pan on a rack.
Slide empanada onto rack, using a wide metal spatula, and cool to warm, about 30 minutes.
Cut empanada into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.
Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.
COOK'S NOTE: The filling can be made up to 2 days ahead and, once cooled, refrigerated, covered. Bring to room temperature before using.