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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sweet Potato Chorizo Empanadas with Avocado Cream

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Several weeks ago, we had a tapas themed dinner with a group of friends. The spread of foods on the table was impressive, everything from an artichoke salad to corn pudding to baked black beans with chorizo to champagne sangria….I practically had to be rolled away from the table! Kara made empanadas and I was smitten with the cute little hand pies, mostly due to the avocado cream she served them with!

It turned out the recipe she used was from Handle the Heat, a food blog I already read on a regular basis. I decided to make my own variation—using sweet potatoes and adding chopped zucchini—to serve at our team meeting for an upcoming RAGNAR race (only 5 days away now!).
I wanted to make the empanadas ahead of time, since we were going to be in Chicago for the meeting. What I meant to do was form the empanadas and then freeze them before baking them in Chicago. Instead, I accidentally formed them, baked them, and then froze them. Thankfully, they turned out fine! I slightly thawed the pre-baked empanadas and then baked them for about 15 minutes at 400F. It’s good to know for the future—feel free to make these and bake/freeze, etc. according to your needs. These are a perfect party appetizer or a quick dinner to pull out of the freezer!

These “Mexican hot pockets”, as my friend James called them, were the perfect food to enjoy as we discussed the upcoming logistics for Team Nipguard (yes, that’s our team name…more details to come eventually ;)) These are especially good when paired with the avocado crème (thanks for making that Mom!), so don’t omit!

One Year Ago: Chocolate Fudge Drops

Sweet Potato Chorizo Empanadas with Avocado Cream
makes about 20-22 empanadas

for the dough-
-1 cup water
-1 1/2 sticks butter
-2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
-2 tsp salt
-pinch paprika

for the filling-
-1 lb Mexican chorizo, casings removed
-1 medium yellow onion, minced
-1/2 zucchini, diced
-2-3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, finely diced, and boiled

for the avocado cream-
-1/4 cup sour cream
-1/4 cup half and half
-1/2 lemon, juiced
-1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
-2 avocados
-kosher salt

1. To make the dough, heat the water and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Allow to cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, salt, and paprika with a well in the center. Pour the melted butter into the well and mix with your hands until dough is well combined and wet. Shape dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
2. To make the filling, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chorizo and onion, cooking until chorizo has broken into small pieces and is cooked through. Remove from heat, add diced and boiled potatoes, and allow to cool completely.
3. To assemble, preheat oven to 400F. Spray 2 large baking sheets with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper. Roll dough into golf-ball sized balls (should get 20-22 of them) and, with a rolling pin, roll out on a lightly floured surface into a circle (or, if you're me, a circle-ish shape!).
4. Place a few tbsp of filling into the center of each dough circle and fold dough over filling to make a half moon shape. Press edges to seal and crimp the edges with the back of a fork. Place empanadas on baking sheets and bake until golden brown (15-20 minutes). Allow to cool.
5. To make the avocado cream, place sour cream, half and half, lemon juice, and jalapeno in the bowl of a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth before adding the avocado (peeled, pitted, and diced) to the blender/food processor, pulsing until creamy. Season with salt.

This post is linked to Eat at Home.