I had spent days and days baking cookies and cakes for Hanukkah. I thought I was finally finished baking. I went through 10 lbs of flour in just a few days! I put away my baking mat and pushed the standing mixer back into the corner. I was done.
And the next day…I decided to make empanadas for dinner. Out came the mixer. Out came the mat. Out came the flour…and the butter…and…
sweet potatoes from my garden and spinach from the CSA! Yes, vegetarian empanadas.
The filling was delicious, just the right amount of smokiness from the adobo sauce. Thank goodness the recipe made extra – we munched on the filling by itself as the empanadas baked.
The pastry was one of the best I have ever made. It was super buttery and flaky.
I served it with some home-made guacamole, chipotle salsa and mild salsa.
Smoky Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Spinach Empanadas
2¼ cups flour
1½ tsp. salt
½ cup unsalted butter, cubed
⅓ cup ice water
1 tbsp. white vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup finely diced shallot
2 large cloves garlic
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
2 tsp. adobo sauce
½ tsp. salt
2 packed cups chopped baby spinach
1 15oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1½ cups sweet potato mash (from about 1 large sweet potato, microwaved for 7-8 minutes) (from the garden)
guacamole, sour cream, and/or salsa, for serving
Whisk together the flour and salt for the crust. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry cutter, working until the butter is about the size of peas and well mixed with the flour.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg. Stir in the ice water and vinegar.
Gently mix the liquid with the flour, using a fork in a fluffing motion. When all of the liquid has been mixed in and the dough is in large clumps, turn it out onto a clean work surface. Knead 5–6 times, or until all of the shaggy bits of flour have been absorbed into the dough. Shape the dough into a 1″ thick rectangle and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the shallot and cook for 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the garlic and continue to cook until the shallot is translucent and barely beginning to brown. Stir in the cumin, coriander, adobo, and salt.
Stir in the spinach and let it wilt for 1 minute. Add the black beans and sweet potato mash and stir until all of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together. Remove the filling from the heat and let it cool while rolling out the crust dough.
Heat the oven to 400°.
Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a floured work surface. Roll it out to about ¼″ thickness. Use a 6″ round cutter or trace a bowl to cut 6″ circles. Re-roll the dough as needed to incorporate the scraps. Aim for 7–8 dough circles.
Transfer the crust rounds to a lined baking sheet. Brush the edges with egg wash.
Drop about ⅓ cup of the filling in the center of each circle. There may be a little filling left over, but do not give in to the temptation to over-fill the empanadas, or they will be unable to close.
Fold the dough circle in half over the filling to form a filled semicircle. Press the edges together with a fork and prick the top of each empanada 3 times to create vents.
Brush the tops of the empanadas thoroughly with egg wash.
Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and baked through. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with guacamole, sour cream, or garlicky salsa for dipping. Enjoy!
Makes 7 – 8 empanadas, serves 6 – 8.