Empanadas With Vegetable-Cheese Filling

Makes 12 large or 24 snack-sized empanadas.

Note: This recipe is adapted from a blog, thewoksoflife.com. From Kim Ode.

Dough:

• 2 1/4 c. flour

• 1 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1 stick (8 tbsp.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in. cubes

• 1 egg

• 1/3 c. ice water, plus 1 tbsp. if necessary

• 1 tbsp. white vinegar

Filling:

• 1 tbsp. butter

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 (8-oz.) sweet potato, finely diced in 1/4-in. cubes

• 1/2 c. finely diced red bell pepper

• 1 1/2 c. sweet corn kernels, fresh or frozen

• 2 green onions, chopped

• 2 to 3 tbsp. jalapeño pepper, finely chopped

• Salt and pepper, to taste

• 7 oz. mild feta cheese

• 4 oz. cream cheese

• 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro or parsley

• 1 egg, separated, for sealing dough and glaze

• 1 tbsp. milk

Directions

To make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Add the cubed butter and cut in with a pastry cutter or work the mixture with your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs.

In a small bowl, beat together 1 egg, 1/3 cup ice water and vinegar. Add it to the flour mixture and stir with a fork until it resembles a shaggy mass, adding the extra ice water if there’s still too much unmixed flour.

Knead gently in the bowl a few times, just enough to bring the dough together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare the filling. (Dough can be made a day ahead.)

To make the filling: Heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sweet potato and sauté until just starting to get golden. Add the bell pepper and corn and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the green onions and jalapeño pepper. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Allow to cool for a few minutes. The mixture can be warm, but not piping hot.

In a large bowl, mix together feta and cream cheese. Add cilantro, then stir in vegetable mixture, mixing well. Taste for seasoning.

To assemble the empanadas: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place parchment paper on 2 baking sheets. Separate 1 egg into separate small bowls for white and yolk. Whisk the white with a fork until frothy; you’ll use this to seal the empanadas. Whisk the yolk and milk with a fork until smooth; you’ll brush each empanada with the egg-yolk wash for a golden crust.

For large empanadas, divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Keep dough covered while working with each piece.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece into a 6-inch circle. Place about 3 tablespoons of filling in the center of the dough. With a brush or a finger, paint the outside of the circle with egg white. Fold dough over filling and press to seal.

Further seal the seam by pressing with a fork, or pleating as you might a pie crust. A classic empanada border looks like a twisted rope, which comes with practice.

Place filled empanadas on parchment and brush with egg-yolk wash. Bake for 30 minutes. They’re best served warm, but are good at room temperature, too.

For snack-sized empanadas, divide dough into 24 even pieces. Roll out to a 4-inch circle and fill with a heaping tablespoon of filling. Seal as directed above, brush with egg-yolk wash and bake 20 to 25 minutes.

To freeze: Lay unbaked empanadas, without the egg glaze, side by side on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Make sure they don’t touch, or the empanadas will freeze together. Freeze until solid, then transfer into a freezer bag. Frozen empanadas will keep for up to 3 months and can be baked straight from the freezer. Brush with egg glaze and bake as directed, allowing 5 to 10 more minutes.

Nutrition information per empanada with 1 tablespoon sauce:

Calories 170 Fat 11 g Sodium 260 mg Carbohydrates 14 g Saturated fat 6 g Total sugars 2 mg

Protein 4 g Cholesterol 45 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 starch, 2 fat.

 

Cilantro Cream Sauce

Makes about 3/4 cup.

Note: Sauces are a great accompaniment to empanadas. You can use something as simple as prepared salsa, or make your own chimichurri sauce. Or this cilantro cream sauce, which we particularly like. From Kim Ode.

• 1/2 c. finely chopped cilantro, leaves and tender stems

• 1 green onion, chopped finely

• 1/2 c. sour cream

• 1/2 lime (grated zest and juice)

• Salt to taste

Directions

Combine all ingredients and serve.