Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Proustian Moment on the Food Channel

Paula’s Chicken Empanadas call up Warburton's Cornish Pasties

Years ago I worked in Kendall Square and sometimes rode the Red Line to Harvard Square for lunch. It was fun to walk around and decompress from my high tech job.

I was horrified when Warburton's Cafe (now long vanished) stopped selling their Cornish pasties in the Harvard Square shop. Shortly after that, Warburton's followed their pasties into the cold oven of history, and the site became an Au Bon Pain, with O.K. food, but it wasn’t Warburton's.

I remember sitting outside on a bench in the early spring sun with the beggar sparrows cheeping around my feet as the flaky crumbs of the pasty fell from my fingers. Together the sparrows and I devoured that wonderful, savory pasty. Of course, with the buttery crust and the red meat and potatoes within, the pasties were "nutritionally incorrect" and that's probably why the Harvard Square Warburton's stopped producing them. Little demand. Except mine.

Flash forward to Wednesday, when the Food Network’s Paula Deen (she of the butter and mayonnaise recipes) made chicken empanadas on her show. Lordy, I was salivating to beat the band and on Saturday I bought a jalapeno pepper and some pepper jack cheese.I changed the recipe to use my own crust and made other changes to spice things up. Yowza! Couldn't stop eating them. Here is Paula's recipe:
My changes: cut filling in half, except for the jalapeno, add 1/2 sautéed onion and substituted pepper jack cheese. I used adobo seasoning instead of cumin and added the last plantlets of cilantro from the garden before the first freeze.
The crust, which I make in the Cuisinart, is 1 1/2 cups flour, one egg yolk, salt, 1/2 t. medium chili powder, 1 stick unsalted butter and enough ice water until the pie dough forms a ball. Cuisinart pie crust is foolproof. And flaky. You'll love it.

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