Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pumpkin Empanadas

Pumpkin Empanadas...perfect combination of savory and light spice for fall.  I recommend using fresh pumpkin, but these could be done with pre-cut fresh butternut squash as a simpler sub (Trader Joe's :)) or canned unsweetened pumpkin.  We had these for dinner with a side salad, but they would make a great appetizer for a holiday party or Thanksgiving too!

Pumpkin Empanadas

1 Small Pumpkin
1 T. Olive Oil
1/2 Small White Onion, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
3 c. Thinly Sliced Kale
1 T. Fresh Sage, coarsely sliced
1/2 T. Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cumin
1/2 tsp. Paprika
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

Empanada Dough:
Makes 24 Empanadas 
1 c. Butter (2 Sticks)
2 1/2 c. Flour
1 T. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 c. Cold Water

Egg Seal for Baking: 
1 Egg White
Pastry/Basting Brush

Preheat oven to 375F. Start by cutting the pumpkin in half and scooping out the insides and seeds. Discard (or make roasted pumpkin seeds for a later snack).  Slice each pumpkin into wide slices and place on a baking sheet.  Brush each of the slices with Olive Oil until coated. Place in the preheated oven and roast for 35 minutes or until you can easily stick with a fork.  Let cool for 10 minutes after removed from the oven.

While the pumpkin is roasting you can make your Empanada Dough.  Slice butter into small cubes.  In a large shallow bowl, mix together flour, sugar and salt.  Add butter on top of the flour mixture and cut with a pastry blender until you have most of the flour in the butter. Its ok to have some bigger pea sized pieces of butter in the mix.  Next, take your cold water (the colder the better!) and gradually mix in...adding in small parts and mixing with a rubber spatula until your dough sticking together in a ball. Refrigerate dough until you are ready to build your will want to chill in the refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before making these and can cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days in an air-tight container.  

After the pumpkin has cooled, peel/cut from the rind and cube, moving to a separate bowl. Roughly mash pumpkin to break up the cubes and set aside.  In a large skillet, add a 1/2 T. Olive Oil, chopped onion and garlic, and sauté on medium heat until the onion starts to look translucent.  Add the sliced kale, fresh sage and chopped pumpkin, and continue to sauté until kale begins to wilt. About 3 minutes.  Next, add the brown sugar, salt, cumin, paprika and cinnamon. Cook in spices while stirring for about 1 minute and remove from heat.  Place the mixture in the refrigerator to cool down for 20 minutes.  This can also be stored in the refrigerator for 2 days in an airtight container.

Now on to building your Empanadas.
Preheat the oven to 350F.

Take out the dough and break off small balls to roll into 5-6" circles on a floured surface. Use additional flour as needed to make sure the dough is not sticking to the roller or the surface.  As you roll out all of the circles, gently stack them so they aren't sticking together.  Once you have all of your circles rolled, take your pumpkin mixture from the refrigerator.

Get out a small bowl and fill with 1/4c. cold water.

For each Empanada: Take the circle of dough.  On one side of the circle, place a scoop of pumpkin mixture (about 2-3 Tablespoons).  Take your finger and dip it in the water, running it around the circumference of the circle. This will help to seal your empanadas. Fold over the dough, making a half circle and fully seal the Empanada buy gently pressing the edges with a fork. Now get out your pastry/basting brush and brush Egg White on the tops and edges of all of your completed Empanadas.  Poke holes with a fork in the tops of all of the Empanadas.

Bake at 350F for 12 minutes or until they are golden.



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