Wednesday, November 17, 2010

white bean and kale empanadas

Every culture has its favorite stuffed dough; empanadas are a Spanish and Portuguese stuffed bread or pastry. The name comes from the verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. El Salvador, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Haiti, Indonesia...each area has its regional twists on the filling. I enjoy coming up with new vegetarian fillings for these little pockets. Last night I experimented with white bean and kale. This is a delicious hearty filling that creates a whole meal in a pocket. These flavors work well this time of year...not to mention, a warm empanada in your hands is the ultimate comfort food.

Soaking beans and mixing your own dough is always an option, but I'm going to share the last minute version. This method makes use of canned beans and store bought pastry disks. You can find the disks in the frozen foods section of most specialty stores, or super markets with a well stocked international aisle. If you'd like to get comfortable making the dough now, here are a couple recipes:

Red Yucca Empanada Dough

Martha's Empanada Dough

To make the filling sauté half a cup of red onions in olive oil until they just start to get soft. Sprinkle a little cumin over the hot onions and oil. I love the flavor of cumin, but you might want to start with a pinch, taste and adjust to your taste. Next add two cans of cannellini beans (I had some left over red beans that I mixed in for this pot) gently stir until cooked through, add salt and pepper to taste, then add chopped kale and some mozzarella cheese. Mix gently and remove from heat.

Place your discs on the work surface and add a table spoon of filling just left of center; fold the disk over and press with a fork to seal the edges.

Now that the empanadas are filled you can bake in a hot oven for 20 min. at 400 or 450. Before placing in oven, brush with milk. To fry, heat oil in a deep-fryer to 365 degrees F. Place one or two pies into the fryer at a time. Cook for about 5 minutes, turning once to brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels, and serve hot. You're not going to eat empanadas every night so go ahead and fry them - the delicious bubbly crust can't be beat!


  1. rosemary, i'm making empanadas tomorrow for a get together i'm having on saturday. i'm making two: roasted red and yellow peppers and goat cheese; and stilton blue with dried figs. i love playing with these as well. one really can't go wrong.

    hope they turn out as scrumptious as yours sound!


  2. Those sound delicious and perfect for a special night! Blue with figs...I'm drooling

    We're going to try making our own goat cheese; could be a total flop. I'll post the valiant efforts : )



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