Thursday, September 19, 2013

Empanadas- MoFo Post Fifeteen

Post #15 for Vegan MoFo 2013. 

I feel like empanadas are all the rage these days. I see them sold at food trucks, see them on menus, and hear about them in the media. The concept is genius- a hand pie of sorts with a savory filling. Before going vegan, I tried them several times at the local farmers market. It was a potato and soy meat filling. I really enjoyed the flavor and wondered why I had not had one before. After going vegan and then gluten free, I forgot about them. 

Fast forward to Puerto Rico and our stay at Maravilla and I was joined once again with the savory hand pie. I believe the filling was black bean and various vegetables. I do not remember exactly, but I was excited to once again get to eat this treat. The predominant flavor in the dough was corn and chunks of cornmeal could be seen. The crust was a bit firm, which works for an empanada as it would seem you should eat it out of your hand. As I enjoyed the pie looking out over the ocean, I thought about making these when I got home. I thought about different types of flavors and crusts. I decided that I would make my empanada with a more delicate crust, more like a pie crust. 

One of my favorite pie crusts is oat based and from the Welcoming Kitchen cookbook. It is very rich and crumbly and can be enjoyed savory or sweet. I add more agave nectar to the recipe when I am making a sweet pie and less when it is savory. This crust has worked well for me as the base of quiche, pot pies, and an apple pie. I decided to put it to the test for an empanada. I made the dough using my electric mixer and let it rest in the refrigerator for an hour. I cannot share this recipe as it is not mine, but I encourage you to use your favorite xgfx crust recipe. It is key that you use a crust that you can easily roll out with a rolling pin or pat down with your hands. Gluten free doughs can often be sticky, so have some extra flour on hand for your work surface. 

For my filling, I decided to go with mushrooms, onions, spinach, and pepper jack vegan cheese. I have been enticed lately by Veg-Am, one of my favorite bloggers, and her use of mushrooms. Cremini are my mushroom of choice as they are hardy and "meaty". They hold up well to cooking. Like most mushrooms, they shrink when cooked. Not a fan of the mushroom? No worries! Sub in another ingredient instead. I cannot leave out my mushroom hating friends! These are supposed to be fun and delicious, so go wild if you wish! 

Mushroom and Spinach Empanadas
  • 1 recipe of your favorite pie dough
  • Gluten free flour for rolling out the dough
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped small
  • 2 c mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 c spinach
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 c vegan pepper jack cheese
  • 1 tbsp almond milk for an "egg wash"
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add water or olive oil to the pan. When hot, add in onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add in garlic and cook a minute more. Add the mushrooms to the pan and let them sweat out and cook, this should take about 5 minutes. Add spinach, liquid smoke, paprika, and chili powder to the pan and let the spinach wilt. Turn the heat off and set the mixture aside. 

While the mixture cools, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll out the pie dough and cut into rectangular strips. Use as much flour as needed to roll out the dough. I was able to get 7 strips out of mine, but you might get less. Place about a tablespoon of cheese in the center of the strip, then top with spinach mixture. Take the short end of one side of the strip and fold it over to touch the other end. Seal the sides of the pocket with your fingers and form into a half moon shape. Make sure that the crust remains sealed. You can close with a fork at the ends or with your fingers. I formed an edge around mine. 

Place the empanadas on a prepared baking pan. Brush the top and sides of each empanada with the almond milk. Place in the oven for about 25 minutes. Check to make sure they do not brown too much. Remove, let cool for about 10 mins and enjoy!


Dawn said...

YUM! I really like empanadas (and creminis!) Thanks for the shout out. I'll be making empanadas in the next couple days, but shockingly, not with mushrooms.

Hannah said...

I would be so happy to just plow through a bowl of that mushroom filling, but of course the whole empanada sounds fantastic, too.

GiGi said...

I am a mushroom fan and a fan of all the ingredients. Nice!