Saturday, August 9, 2008

Acorn Squash and Black Bean Empanadas

Makes 12 empanadas, takes 2 1/2 hours to make, total.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1/2-3/4 cup very cold water
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion sliced in 1-inch pieces
2-3 serrano chiles, sliced thin
2 tsp coriander seeds, smashed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp water
1 cup cooked black bean, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp fresh lime or lemon juice
2 tsp pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare the pastry:
Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Cut the shortening into small chunks and combine with the flour using a pastry cutter. The dough should be crumbly and pebbly.
Combine the vinegar with 1/2 cup water. Add to the dough in three batches, gently tossing with a fork until the dough holds together when pinched. Use up to 1/4 cup more water if needed.
Gather the dough into a ball and knead gently in the bowl a few times until it holds together. Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour and roll out the dough into an 8 x 5 inch rectangle. Place baking parchment on cutting board, gently lift dough onto it, cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Prepare the filling:
Roast the squash by cutting in half lengthwise and scooping out center seeds. Place face down on a greased baking sheet and bake for about 50 minutes, until lit is easily pierced with a fork. Remove from heat and cool, cut side up. Peel squash and cut it into 3/4 inch chunks.
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and chiles in olive oil for 5 to 7 minutes, until softened. Add coriander seeds and garlic to pan and saute a minute more. Add cumin, salt and 2 tbsp water. Add squash and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often to coat. Add black beans and heat thoroughly. Lastly, add lemon juice adn maple syrup. Turn off heat and prepare empanada dough.

Creating the empanadas:
Grease a baking sheet and set it aside. Grab the dough and slide it off the cutting board. Roll it out into a 9 x 12 inch rectangle. Trim edges to make it even. Slice the doguh into 3 inch squares- four cuts across and 2 cuts lengthwise.
Take a square and roll it out a bit more to about 6 inches square. Place 2 tbsp filling on half of dough, leaving about 1/2 inch of space at the bottom point. Fold over the dough so that it makes a triangle. Pinch together seams with a fork or fingers.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown!

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