The first time I ever had an empanada was in Jamaica.
It was my first time out of the country and my first time trying any foreign foods. I was there for a church mission trip.
Admit it. You know you always wanted your hair braided or to get one of those hair wrap things that you see in Disney world and on cruises.
And don’t tell me you didn’t go through the crazy cool sunglasses, bandana, steal-boys-visors-and-wear-them phase?!?!?
Oh geeze. Embarrassing. Thus is the life of a freshman in high school.
Anyway. Back to the food.
I know I’m supposed to be squeezing vegetables into every nook and cranny that I can, but the flaky whole wheat bread and spicy chorizo make these empanadas the real deal.
The empanadas I had in Jamaica were just plain beef in the pastry shell.
The sweet potato and onion make this version just plain ‘ole good.
P.S. A big thank you to Tessa at Handle the Heat for the recipe and inspiration for such an awesome dinner!
Sweet Potato Chorizo Empanadas
adapted from Handle the Heat
- 1 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- dash of ground red pepper
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 cup water
- In a medium bowl, combine the flours, salt, sugar and red pepper.
- In a small sauce pan, melt the butter in the water over medium heat.
- Pour the melted butter water into the flour and mix with a spatula.
- Drop the dough onto a long sheet of plastic wrap.
- Shape into a disk and cover with the plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (I made it in the morning and let chill in the fridge for 8 hours).
- 1 pound chorizo, removed from casing
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 3 sweet potatoes, diced into 1″ pieces
- Steam the diced potatoes.
- Meanwhile, cook the chorizo over medium-high heat, breaking it up into small pieces while it cooks.
- Add in the diced onion and cook until the onion is tender and the chorizo is fully cooked.
- Remove from the heat and add in the sweet potatoes.
- Mash the potatoes in with the chorizo and onions.
- Set aside while you prepare the dough.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Set aside a two baking sheets covered with silpat mats or parchment paper.
- Divide the dough into about 15 equal pieces.
- Using a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, roll the individual dough balls big enough to cut into 5″ circles (I used a bowl).
- Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the filling into the center of each dough circle.
- Fold the dough over making a half-moon shape and press the edges firmly to seal.
- Crimp the edge with a fork.
- Place the empanadas on the baking sheet, leaving at least 1″ between and bake until gold brown (about 15-20 minutes).
- Serve with your favorite toppings (salsa, Greek yogurt/sour cream, cheddar cheese, or with a salad).
Servings: 15-18 empanadas