Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sweet potato and black bean empanadas with pumpkin-seed crust

The vaguely greenish tint to the crust comes from the incorporation of pepitas (raw, shelled pumpkin seeds) into the dough.

Empanada Dough
1/2 c. pepitas (raw, please)
2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick butter, cold
1/3 c. ice water, plus more if necessary
1 TBSP vinegar
1 egg

One medium-sized sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2" chunks
A few chard stems, cut into small chunks (optional)
Cumin seeds
Salt & pepper
1 1/2 c. cooked black beans (or 1 can), well rinsed

First, make the dough:

1. Combine the pepitas with 1/2 c. flour in a food processor and whiz up good until pepitas are ground into breadcrumb consistency. Add the remainder of the flour and the salt and pulse briefly to mix.
2. Add butter, cut into small chunks, and pulse a couple of times to roughly incorporate (you should still have some decent-sized pieces of butter).
3. Combine ice water, vinegar, and egg, and beat with a fork. Turn on processor and pour the water-vinegar-egg mixture in a slow steady stream. Pulse until dough comes together in a ball, adding a few drops more ice water if necessary.
4. Remove dough from processor, press into a disk, wrap in cling wrap and put in refrigerator for at least an hour.

Now, make the topping:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss sweet potato chunks, and pieces of chard stem if you're using it, together with enough oil to coat lightly in a baking pan. Sprinkle with cumin seeds, salt and pepper, and stir again.
2. Once oven is heated, place in oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice.
3. Remove from oven, toss with black beans, and season to taste with more salt & pepper. Turn down your oven to 375 if your dough is close to being ready.

Here are the sweet potatoes and chard before going into the oven — very festive looking, no?

Once dough has chilled for at least an hour, remove from refrigerator. Divide dough into eight pieces, and, working one at a time (and keeping the rest loosely wrapped in cling wrap and ideally in the fridge), roll out into a circle (or vaguely circular shape), about 8-9" in diameter. Place one-eighth of filling on one side of the dough, fold the other half over to make a half-moon shape, seal edges by crimping with a fork. Repeat for remaining dough.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes, until a little browned and flaky-looking.

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