I am hosting my monthly ladies' night this week and decided the theme should be Spanish tapas... so today I made 86 empanadas (yes, 86). OK so I did not mean to make that many. I am not a lunatic (only borderline people!). Here's what happened. I made two kinds: these vegetarian sweet potato and black bean ones, and Argentine Beef Empanadas recipe. This particularly recipe said it made 10, so I one-and-a-halved the recipe, figuring 15 was a good number, and then realized this made 15 large empanadas... and I wanted smaller guys -- empanadillas really -- so, um, yeah, I ended up with 40 of these little guys.
It was a lot of work but they are really really yummy. The good news is they freeze well!
These have sweet potato, roasted pablano, black beans, cilantro, green onion, cumin, and have a wonderful flavor.
The dough that this recipe calls for is much lighter than the one I used for the beef empanada and was really good and fairly easy to work with. It has canola oil, water, egg, cider vinegar, and flour, whereas the one I made for the beef empanadas is much heavier, with butter, cream cheese, and heavy cream. I am not sure the high fat content is necessary, although it did make for a very flaky crust. This is less flaky, but also less guilty!
The only change I would make next time is just to roll out half the dough and cut out circles, rather than separting the dough into balls ahead of time, as the recipe suggests. Separating first might be easier if you are making large empanadas, although I found it difficult to roll the dough out and end up with a shape that was circular... mine were all lopsided and funny looking. So I ended up rolling out the dough and cutting out 3 inch circles (4 inch would be even easier to work with!)
OK here's how you make these delicious party empanadas.
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas
adapted from Cooking Light, December 2010
(makes 10 large empanadas, or about 26-28 small empanadillas)
9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup cold water
1 Tbs. cider vinegar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 poblano chili
1 Tbs. cumin seeds, toasted in a skillet and ground (I was lazy and just used 1 Tbs. ground cumin -- it worked fine)
1 cup mashed, cooked sweet potatoes
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup chopped green onions
2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. ancho chili powder (I used red chili powder)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 egg white, lightly beaten
For Dough: combine flour and salt in large bowl and whisk to blend. Combine canola oil, water, vinegar and egg in a medium bowl. Gradually add oil mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Knead lightly until smooth. Shape dough into two balls, flatten into disks, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least one hour, or overnight.
For Filling: Roast poblano under a boiler, or over an open flame, turning until blackened all over. Place in a paper bag; close tightly and let stand 15 minutes. Peel chile and cut in half lengthwise. Discard seeds and membranes. Finely chop. Put in a bowl with other filling ingredients and mash with a fork until combined.
Assembly: Place one disk of dough on a floured surface and using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out from the center, turn a quarter turn and roll again, repeating until dough is thin, but not transparent. Cut 3 inch circles (5 inches for large empanadas). Place 1 tsp. filling (2-3 Tbs if making large empanadas) in the center of each circle. Wet the edges of the circle with the lightly beaten egg white and fold dough over filling. Press edges together to seal and use a fork or your fingers to decoratively crimp edges. Cut two or three diagonal slits across the top of each empanada. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degree for about 16 minutes, until lightly browned.
Preparing ahead: To freeze, place empanadas in a single layer on a baking sheet in the freezer for about 1 hour. Transfer to a sealable freezer bag and store up to 1 month. To bake, place frozen empanadas directly on the baking sheet and into the preheated oven. Add about 10 minutes to the baking time.