south american recipe


Black Bean, Soyrizo and Potato Empanadas

Yum! These are so delicious. I made these yesterday because I still had lots of cilantro and ½ package of Soyrizo leftover from making breakfast tacos.

I use coconut oil mixed with butter in the pastry crust because it adds tropical flavor. You can make these vegan by eliminating the butter, but it makes the dough more pliable and easier to work with. So I use both.

In a food processor, combine ¾ cup coconut oil ½ cup butter and 1 1/2 cups sifted flour, (I used 1 c. whole wheat and ½ c. all purpose) and 1 tsp salt. Pulse until small bits form. Add ¼ cup ice water, pulse until just combined and a dough ball starts to form. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead together forming the a disk. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or more.

The filling can be anything under the sun. Traditional empanadas usually have some kind of cooked potatoes or rice, some kind of cooked beans or meat, and aromatic vegetables. Some have olives, eggs or raisins. I used chopped dried apricots instead of raisins for a subtle sweetness. These come out different every time I make them depending on the ingredients I have on hand. 

Here’s the filling I made for the ones in these photos:

Chop 1 sweet onion, 1 or 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks and 5 or 6 small gold potatoes into small dice. Saute in olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Once it cooks for a minute, add 5 or 6 cloves chopped fresh garlic, ½ tsp ancho chili powder, ½ tsp ground coriander, sprinkle of celery salt & pepper. Cook until cooked and caramelized about 15 minutes should do it. Remove from the heat and add 1 can of rinsed and drained black beans, 5 or 6 chopped dried apricots, ¼ to ½ package of Soyrizo, 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, and the juice of 1 tangerine or orange. Place this mixture in a bowl and refrigerate to cool it down.

So now your dough has rested and your filling is cooled. Heat the oven to 375. Roll out the pastry and cut it into circles. Place a bit of the filling into the center of each circle and pinch and fold the edge halfway around so it looks all pretty. Or just crimp with a fork. You can brush them with beaten eggs before baking if you like to make the pastry all golden and glisteny. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes till piping hot and golden brown.  Yum!

Cheap and Easy Homemade Empanadas

When you think you don’t have anything to eat in the house, you most likely have all the ingredients you need to make empanadas. If you have some basics, flour, butter, carrots, onion, garlic, beans, and a potato, then you have all you need to make empanadas. You might also have some some ground turkey or beef in the freezer for a carnivore version, & maybe some fresh parsley or cilantro. If not, it’s ok to use dried herbs for these.

I love making these, it’s fun. I especially like doing the fancy edging, it reminds me of being a kid and playing with play dough.

Start with the pastry crust. In a bowl combine ½ stick butter, ½ tsp salt. Using your fingers cut in 2 cups whole wheat or all purpose flour

For gluten free crust, use gluten free baking mix instead of flour, same amounts. For a vegan crust use a combo of Earth Balance buttery spread and Coconut oil in place of the butter, same amounts.  

I made whole wheat crust with good old butter. Once the butter is cut into the flour, mix in 8 (or more) tblsp ice water and mix it all together with a fork, being careful not to overmix. Form the pastry dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to rest while you make the filling.

For the filling you can be as creative as you want. I made these by browning ½ lb. organic, grass fed ground beef. (Obviously, Skip this part and go right to the next step for vegetarian version) Once it’s cooked through, set aside and drain off the fat. Then add 2 tblsp olive oil to the pan and cook 1 large or 2 small organic potatoes, cut into small dice, salt and pepper, 1/2 chopped onion, 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, 2 crushed garlic cloves. Cook until the potatoes are cooked but not mushy, add back the meat along with the juice of ½ lemon, ½ cup raisins, a sprinkle of garlic powder, ½ tsp Ancho chili powder, a big pinch of dried basil, fresh chopped cilantro, and ¼ cup beef stock or beer, a pinch of dried coriander powder, and a pinch of cumin. Stir the filling and put it in a bowl in the fridge to cool.

One it’s cooled off, roll out half of your pastry dough ( I like to use two cookie sheets and work in 2 batches)  and cut it into 3 or 4 inch circles. Place a heaping tblsp of the filling in the center and fold over, pinching and folding the edge all the way around the half moon shaped pie. Place on a buttered cookie sheet and slice air holes in the top. Brush with scrambled egg. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

That’s basically how I do it. I do it a little differently every time based on the ingredients I have in the house. You can add chopped bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, a cooked hard boiled egg chopped up, sun dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, spinach, veggie crumbles, tempeh, chard, canned beans, or anything you have on hand that you think would make an awesome empanada filling.

I also made a vegan / gluten free version for my niece by combining chopped sauteed sweet potato, onion, garlic, a can of black beans rinsed and drained, 1 cup chopped chard, ¼ cup veggie stock, a pinch of cayenne, a pinch of coriander, a pinch of sweet basil, ¼ tsp Ancho chili powder, cumin and the juice of ½ lemon. She loved them!

Serve with hot sauce, guacamole, and plain yogurt or sour cream.