Enjoy Empanadas!

Posted on: Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day of the Dead or “Dia de los Muertos” is a Mexican holiday that celebrates the lives of deceased loved ones with festive parties, parades and feasts. In honor of the holiday, we decided to make a fun Latin American themed party food.

On a trip to Argentina, Marni fell in love with empanadas. The buttery pastries with various fillings are often served as appetizers or sold as sidewalk snacks. They are commonly filled with meats, pulled chicken, ham and cheese, or vegetables, depending on the region. We decided to create two kinds of empanadas for our costume-clad friends. Halloween inspires the first with (orange) sweet potatoes and black beans, while the second incorporates a Spanish flare with spicy Chorizo

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas
1 packet of defrosted piecrust (by all means make your own if you have the time)
1 T EVOO
2 mediums sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 medium yellow onion diced
1 clove minced garlic
1 c chicken broth (water works just fine)
1 c drained and rinsed black beans
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
1 t cayenne pepper
1 t cumin
1/2 t cinnamon
1 beaten egg
salt and pepper throughout

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Over medium heat, sautee the onions in the EVOO for 4-5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and cumin. After 1 minute, add the sweet potatoes and chicken broth. Cover and let sit for about 10 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Stir in the cilantro and black beans and cook for a few more minutes. Once everything is incorporated, set aside.

Roll out the pie dough 1/8-inch thick. Cut 3-inch circles (a small plate or the rim of a water glass is the perfect stencil). Place a T of filling in the center of each circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold each circle in half to create a half moon pocket by moistening the border with water and crimping the edges. Brush the little half moons with egg wash, and bake on a lined baking sheet for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 10-12 empanadas.



Caramelized Onion and Chorizo Empanadas
1 packet of defrosted piecrust (by all means make your own if you have the time)
1 chorizo link removed from its casing
1 T EVOO
1 1/2 thinly sliced yellow onions
1 clove minced garlic
1 t cumin
2 T your favorite salsa
1 beaten egg
salt and pepper throughout

Remove the chorizo from its casing and sautee it over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, breaking it apart into small pieces. Transfer to a plate. Reduce heat to medium, add the onion, 1 T EVOO, and sautee for 10 minutes or until the onions are soft and slightly golden. Stir in the garlic and spices, reserved chorizo, salsa and cook for a few minutes longer. Set aside.

Roll out the pie dough 1/8-inch thick. Cut 3-inch circles (a small plate or the rim of a water glass is the perfect stencil). Place a T of filling in the center of each circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold each circle in half to create a half moon pocket by moistening the border with water and crimping the edges. Brush the little half moons with egg wash, and bake on a lined baking sheet for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 10-12 empanadas.


To accompany the empanadas, we whipped up a creamy guacamole sauce with an autumn theme by sprinkling toasted pumpkin seeds on top. We often make a chunky guacamole, but added sour cream this time to create a smooth consistency for dipping.

Creamy Guacamole Sauce with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
2 ripe avocados
3 T sour cream
1/4 c water
juice of 1 lime
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 t cumin
1/2 t cayenne pepper
salt and pepper throughout
1/4 c toasted pumpkin seeds

In a blender, puree all ingredients. Add a little water if too thick. Sprinkle the toasted pumpkin seeds on top and serve.

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