Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas

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Hurricane Sandy coming by our area last week meant that schools were closed and I had some time on my hands on the rainy days.  I finally dove into magazines I’ve had piling up for the last couple of years. I found these empanadas in a December 2010 Cooking Light

Luckily, we didn’t lose our power or have bad flooding from Sandy. On Saturday afternoon I was craving these empanadas I’ve been wanting to make for a couple of years. No matter how many storms we go through here in South Florida, it always raises my stress level and makes me anxious. It felt good to finally purge through my magazine collection and pull out recipe favorites I’ve been meaning to try. It also felt really good to roll out the dough and create these wonderful little pockets.

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Yesterday after a birthday party, we drove by the beach to see what the ocean was like after Hurricane Sandy. Palm Beach is still closed…there is no beach left. We chatted with my mom’s neighbors and surfers checking out the volatile ocean.

Right in front of those people in that photo is about a 5 ft drop where there used to be the beach. The ocean has crashed over those stairs and traveled all the way to the parking lot. I wouldn’t have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes. Flip flops and other debris scattered around the deck and the parking lot. Surfers are cautious to go out in the ocean for the debris that could potentially harm them.

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A guy pulled out one of the beach chairs to watch the water. He didn’t stay there too long and left as the water was pounding right below him. I just saw on our local news that FPL (our local power company)has sent trucks up to the Northeast to help restore power for the outages they’re expecting.

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For my friends that our in the path of the storm, please stay safe.

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A little about the empanadas: I happened to have every thing I needed to make these delicious vegetarian empanadas. I left out the poblano peppers. If you love peppers, I think it would be really wonderful with them. I added a little extra virgin olive oil to the mix and my mom made a wonderful dipping sauce for it with mayonnaise, sriracha hot sauce (or whatever hot sauce you like), a little lemon juice, and some relish (or chopped pickles). I used my food processor to put this light dough together.  You could also fill this dough with a meat or chicken filling if you are craving. If you are looking for a fun vegetarian idea, this is delicious. 

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas
slightly adapted: Cooking Light

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 poblano chile (I omitted this part-keep it if you like peppers)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder (I used a regular chile powder I had here)
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Egg wash:
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Directions:
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water for egg wash and set aside.

Food processor dough method: Process the oil, vinegar, flour and salt a few seconds until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add in the egg and pulse a few times. Drop by drop add the water, processing very briefly. The whole process would take 20 to 30 seconds. Wrap and chill the pastry for at least 1 hour.

By hand dough method: Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine canola oil, 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and egg in a medium bowl. Gradually add oil mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Knead lightly until smooth. Shape dough into a ball, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour.

*If you are adding chile: Preheat broiler. Place poblano on a foil-lined baking sheet; broil 8 minutes or until blackened, turning after 6 minutes. Place in a paper bag; close tightly. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel chile; cut in half lengthwise. Discard seeds and membranes. Finely chop.

Preheat oven to 400°.

In a large bowl, combine cumin, poblano (I omitted the pepper), sweet potatoes, and next 6 ingredients (through 1/2 teaspoon salt) in a large bowl; mash with a fork until almost smooth.
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Divide dough into 10 equal portions, shaping each into a ball. Roll each dough portion into a (5-inch) circle on a lightly floured surface.
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Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to keep from drying), spoon about 2 level tablespoons sweet potato mixture into center of each circle (make it where you can close the empanada and not have it squish out).
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Moisten edges of dough with egg wash; fold dough over filling. Press edges together to seal. Brush empanadas with the egg wash. Place empanadas on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cut 3 diagonal slits across top of each empanada. Bake at 400° for 16 minutes or until lightly browned. Buon appetito-enjoy!

My friends that are in the path-stay safe and you’re all in my thoughts. xo Lora

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