Friday, August 20, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Seitan-Potato Empanadas

Okay so now I can say I've made tamales and empanadas from scratch. These were a lot of work to make and why am I doing them for just an everyday Friday, I have no idea. I think I just like making them, just to say I've made them than saving them for a special occasion. These were really good, the dough became really crunchy when baked and turned this beautiful golden brown color.

The recipe says it makes 12 empanadas but I was only able to make 8. I think this happened because I didn't roll the dough thin enough. But when the dough circles were a little thin, it tended to break when folding and assembling. Maybe I just need more practice since this was my first time making them.

Printer Friendly Recipe Here

Makes about a dozen 6 inch Empanadas
Time : About 1 1/2 hours with baking and cooling the filling, not including making pastry dough circles

* 1 recipe Wheat Empanada Dough, well chilled ( recipe below )
* 1 pound waxy potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
* 1 large carrot, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes ( about 1 cup )
* 3 Tb olive or peanut oil
* 1/2 recipe ( two loaves ) Steamed Red Seitan, diced into 1/2 inch cubes, Recipe Here ( or about two cups of store bought seitan )
* 4 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1/2 pound yellow onion, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
* 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
* 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
* 2 tsp red hot chile sauce or paste, or more to taste
* A generous twist of freshly ground black pepper
* 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
* 1/2 cup dark raisins
* 2/3 cup sliced green olives
* 1 2/3 cups rich vegetable broth
* 4 tsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
* 1 Tb sugar
* 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

1. Place the potatoes and carrots in a heavy saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes just start to turn tender but are not mushy, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain in a colander over the sink and rinse with cold water to stop the vegetables from cooking further. Leave the colander in the sink to drain any excess water.

2. Now make the seitan veggie filling. If desired, you can do this step in advance and keep the filling chilled until it's time to bake the empanadas. In a heavy bottom pot, heat 1 Tb of the oil over medium heat and add the diced seitan, sauteing for 5 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. Transfer to a plate. Heat the remaining 2 Tb of oil over medium heat and add the garlic and onions, frying until the onion becomes soft and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the cumin, oregano, and hot sauce and grind a few twists of pepper over everything. Add the seitan, drained potatoes and carrots, peas, raisins, and olives and fry for about 2 minutes.

3. While the seitan mixture cooks, use a wire whisk or a fork to beat the vegetable broth, arrowroot, sugar and salt in a mixing cup until dissolved. Add to the seitan mixture and stir occasionally until the mixture starts to boil. The mixture will begin to thicken now, so switch to stirring constantly until a thin gravy has formed. Taste the gravy, it's fully cooked when no chalky texture remains. Adjust the seasoning, if needed, by adding more salt, pepper, or even hot sauce, if desired. Remove from the heat and allow the filling to cook for at least 25 minutes. It should be cooked enough to handle easily.

4. When ready to assemble the empanadas, preheat the oven to 400 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. You may want to use baking sheets with a raised edge for these emapanadas, as juices may bubble out.

5. Take a dough round, place it on a lightly floured surface, and gently stretch it slightly outward by its edges. Scoop up a generous 1/3 cup of filling ( making sure to scoop up some of the gravy ) into the center of the round, leaving at least 1/2 inch of space along the edges of the dough and pinch together to a form a "purse" to help prevent the gravy from spilling out. Continue to press the edges together and work toward the top to create a bottom heavy, half circular purse like shape. Now really press those edges of the dough together, enough to squish the dough out to create an edge 1/2 inch wide. Carefully crimp the edges and tuck them under. It's an important step to make sure all the filling is secured inside the crust.

6. Gently lift the empanada by hand ( or use a thin spatula ) and place on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the top and sides generously with soy creamer. Continue with the rest of the dough and filling, dividing the filling equally among the dough rounds.

7. Bake the empanadas for 28 to 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the edges are browned. A little of the filling may bubble out of the edges, but as you get better at crimping the edges of the dough it won't be much of an issue. Allow them to cool for 6 to 8 minutes before serving, as the filling will be extremely hot right out of the oven.

Wheat Empanada Dough

Makes about a dozen 6 inch dough rounds
Time : About 35 minutes, not including the chilling time

* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 1 1/4 tsp salt
* 1/2 tsp baking powder
* 6 Tb chilled non-hydrogenated vegan shortening
* 4 Tb chilled non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
* 3/4 cup cold water, or more as needed

1. In a food processor bowl, pulse together the flour, salt, and baking powder for a few seconds. Slice the shortening and margarine into 1/2 inch chunks, add to the food processor, and pulse until everything resembles fine, sand like crumbs. If your food processor bowl is small, prepare everything in two batches. If you prefer, you can also use a large fork or pastry cutter to blend the fats into the flour.

2. Pour the flour mixture into a large bowl and stream in the cold water while mixing the dough with your fingers. Continue adding just enough cold water that you can press the mixture together to form a soft and stretchy dough. Briefly knead a few times, divide into two balls, flatten each into a round about an inch thick, and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Handle the dough minimally to keep it from getting tough. Chill it overnight or for at least 4 hours.

3. Tear about 10 pieces of waxed paper to about 7 inches square and keep them near your workspace. Lightly dust a large, stable rolling surface and a rolling pin with all purpose flour. Roll one of the dough roughs about 3/8 inch thick, stretching and pulling the dough a little if necessary. To keep the dough from getting tough, use long rolling motions, occasionally lifting the dough by the edges and turning it a little to ensure an even thickness throughout.

4. Using a 6 inch diameter bowl pressed into the dough as a guide, take a small, sharp paring knife and run it around the edge of the bowl to cut out circles. Or, use a huge round cookie or biscuit cutter. Stack the circles of dough on top of one another, separating them with the waxed paper pieces to keep them from sticking. Chill the dough scraps, while you roll and cut the remaining unworked dough into rounds. Gather up all the remaining dough scraps, reroll them only one more time, and cut out as many circles as possible.

5. Chill the finished dough circles, the entire stack well wrapped in plastic wrap while preparing the filling, or store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Keep the empanada dough chilled until you're ready to fill and bake them.


  1. holy freaking yum! this makes whatever i am going to have for dinner crap in comparison. i am envious of your friday dinner.

  2. Aww thank you. I'm your your dinner will be just as good.

  3. I made my first empanadas about a month ago and I prefer them so much to bought stuff. I had a fun time with it and I can't wait to start experimenting again. I'll have to try this dish, with some mods, since I'm not a big sweet potato fan. These look great though!

  4. They look great! Everything from Viva Vegan works out so well :)

    I found your blog through flickr!

  5. Tender Branson - Yeah I think anything home made is better than store bought. Always tastes a lot better. They were a lot of work to make though..I think it'll be more than a month before I attempt to make them again haha

    Mandee - I know! I love Terry Romero..shes a genius at creating fantastic recipes

  6. These do look like a lot of work, but they also seem well worth it. Sweet and spicy is a winning combination.

  7. Yeah they were worth it but if you have a helper or two in the kitchen its not so bad to make.

  8. I've never made these, but they look wonderful. I bet the freeze well, too!

  9. Yes they do, just like tamales : ]