Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dough-Wrapped Goodness

Wrap something up in a flaky, homemade dough, and I'm bound to eat it.

My mom used to make fried pies when I was growing up--a dessert that hails straight from the hills of Appalachia. She would wrap simple pastry around a filling of applesauce and apple butter, and brown those little pies in a skillet. Holy deliciousness, were they ever good!

Whether it's pie, calzones, or a round of brie en croute, dough-wrapped food is just plain tasty, isn't it?

Tonight I tried my hand at a pastry-wrapped pocket that's new to me: empanadas. I first spied a recipe for Sweet Potato & Black Bean Empanadas in this month's issue of Cooking Light. Since I'm already a fanatic about the sweet potato and black bean combo (remember this summer's pocket recipe?), I knew that encasing these guys together in a tender, flaky dough would surely make my taste buds sing with glory.

And sing they did!

While the filling in tonight's recipe is dairy free, I'm already dreaming about how some sharp cheddar cheese could vamp these little pockets to the next level.

What's your favorite way to fill a pocket o' pastry?

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas
(recipe adapted from a Cooking Light magazine recipe)

I ate (and loved!) my empanada plain, Adam enjoyed his with a little salsa and sour cream on the side. As noted above, I imagine some grated sharp cheddar cheese would be a wonderful addition to the filling.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup all-purpose and 1 cup whole wheat)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/4 cold water
  • 1 TBSP vinegar
  • 1 large egg
  • dash of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • generous sprinkling of black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • Optional: 1 finely chopped poblano chili (we did not use this because I don't like hot chilis, but if you do like hot food, by all means go wild!)
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

2) Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute for about 3 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, and chili powder and saute for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Combine sweet potatoes, black beans, onion mixture, and cilantro in a large bowl.

3) To prepare dough: Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. In separate, small bowl, whisk together oil, water, vinegar, and egg. Gradually add oil mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just moist. Knead lightly until smooth. Divide into 8 balls.

4) To prepare empanadas: Use a rolling pin to roll one of the balls of dough on a lightly floured surface (roll into a 5 inch circle). Place about 3 TBSP of the sweet potato mixture on the dough circle. Fold dough over the filling, and use a fork to seal the edges (optional, you can lightly moisten the edges of the dough with egg white to seal them together before using the fork). Cut three diagonal slits across the top of each empanada.

5) Bake empanadas at 400 degrees for about 16 minutes, or until lightly browned.


  1. Oooh those look so good! I love that you made your own dough - I really want to do that for these!

    Okay, now we're really thinking alike - these are a bit different but reminded me of this meal. I like your version!

  2. Yum! I wonder how it would taste with pumpkin? I've been trying to find a good savory recipe for my most-feared veggie =) haha

  3. This does look good. There's something so unique, odd, and yet really good about sweet potato and black bean together.

  4. I LOVE empanadas! One of my best friends lives in Argentina and whenever she is back in the states we make spicy pumpkin and corn ones. Heavenly.

  5. This sounds wonderful. Bookmarked!

  6. These look really good. I've never made empanadas before. I'll have to give it a try with the sharp cheddar.

  7. Wow, these look beautiful! I keep seeing beans and sweet potatoes combined together everywhere on blogs, but I've never tried I have an excuse to!

  8. mmmmm. These are like those sweet potatoblack bean pockets you made that one time!! So so good!! And I love the title. It needs no further explanation!!

  9. In MN we actually call them pasties. Alot of restaurants sell them and they are traditionally filled with potatoes, carrots, beef, and rutabaga. I think there is a recipe on my blog actually!!
    These empanadas sound delicious! I made sweet ones for a Spanish class before--chocolate banana empanandas..heavenly!

  10. Yum! I've been wanting to make empanadas, and this filling sounds perfect! (also, I'm about to play catch-up here...)