Sweet Potato Empanadas in Ancho Chili Cream Cheese Pastry
I brought these to a party last night and they were a big hit.
I never made pastry crust until recently because I thought it was so complicated. Not true! Using the food processor makes it very easy. It comes out flaky and fresh beyond any pre-made crust you might buy at the Piggly Wiggly. Remember that if you over process, it’ll make the dough tough. So go easy on that pulse button.
The hardest thing about making your own pastry is having the will power not to eat too many empanadas.
For the Cream Cheese Ancho Chili pastry crust:
In a food processor combine 1/2 cup cold butter with 1/2 of an 8 oz package cream cheese, 1/2 tsp chili ancho powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Blend them together till creamy.
Using the pulse button on the food processor, slowly mix in 1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour or whole wheat flour, whichever you prefer. Pulse till it forms big crumbs being careful not to overmix. Add 2 tablespoons ice cold water and just pulse till it becomes crumbly dough, but not to the point of forming a ball. Remove to a clean, floured work surface, knead it a couple times to bring it together, form it into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
While your pastry rests:
Chop 1 small onion and saute in a large skillet in 1 tblsp olive oil. Add 2 sweet potatoes, and 1 red potato, cut into small cubes. Season with salt and pepper. Once the potatoes are mostly cooked, add 1 cup cooked organic chicken, cut into small pieces, thighs or breasts, whichever you prefer.
Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup chicken stock. Season with a pinch of celery salt, 1/4 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp chili ancho powder, a pinch of cinnamon. Add 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped, ½ cup seedless raisins, ½ cup chopped black or green olives, 3 cloves garlic, minced, 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro, 1/4 cup chopped green onion. Let this mixture cool completely.
Pre-heat the oven to 375
Cut your dough ball in half. On a floured work surface, roll your dough, flipping and turning, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Roll 1/4 inch thick, cut with a circle cutter. Fill the center of the empanada with the cooled chicken mixture, fold in half and pinch the edges together, pinching & flipping the edge over as you go around the half circle. I might have to film this to show everyone how I do it. You can also just crimp the edges with a fork.
Place the pastries on a buttered cookie sheet. Poke the top of each one with fork marks.
Scramble 1 egg with a tblsp of water. Brush the top and sides of the pastries with the egg wash.
Bake for 10 - 15 minutes till golden brown and heated through.
Serve with salsa or yogurt cilantro dipping sauce. the yogurt dipping sauce I made is similar to a Greek Tzatziki type sauce. I mixed 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup low fat sour cream, 1 crushed garlic clove, the juice of 2 lemons, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt & pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro.