Friday, August 29, 2014

Baked vegetable empanadas



Empanadas are tasty bread pockets with versatile fillings similar to a calzone or panzarotti.  

They originated in Spain, and recipes were spread around the globe during the colonial period with each nation putting their own twist on the fillings and dough.  They can be baked or fried, sweet or savory, a snack or a meal. It all depends on you, and what you feel like. 

I have experimented with many empanada fillings including, peanut stew from Gambia, vegan bechamel from Argentina, and simple vegetable curries from India.  
This recipe is for an easy Indian inspired filling which goes wonderfully with a tamarind chutney, or even a cilantro pesto.  

Prepare the filling in advance as it needs to be cool when you handle it. 
Our corn and coconut "Agung" empanada that we served at the June Annex Flea.  Agung is the name of the largest volcano in Bali and the filling is inspired by Balinese vegetable curry. 

Filling:

  • 1 cup spinach 
  • 1/2 cup diced potato
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup TVP granules 
  • dash of soy sauce, 
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth 
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Method:

  1. Add all ingredients to a large soup pot
  2. Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes, covered
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature 


Dough:

  1. 3 cups wheat flour
  2. 1/2 cup corn starch 
  3. 2 tablespoons salt 
  4. 1 cup cold water
  5. 1/4 cup olive oil 


Method:

  1. In a large bowl, mix flour, starch and salt
  2. Add the water and oil and kneed into a dough ball for five minutes 
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a thin sheet and cut circles with large cookie cutters, bowls, or plates.  (I have been using a 6inch cereal bowl as a mold.) 
African Peanut Stew Empanada on the right, served with a side of cilantro aioli


Assembly:

  1. Place a spoonful of filling in the centre of each dough circle. (Not too much or the empanada won't close) 
  2. Wet the edges of the dough with water with your finger (this acts like a glue) and fold the sheet of dough over, making a pocket
  3. Once folded, use a fork to press the edges down.  This also makes an interesting design
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the empanadas in rows, making sure they don't touch each other. 
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees F for approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown. 

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