Right after I hit the publish button on this post, I’m jumping in my car for a little road trip. And by “little” I mean “big”. Like 3,000 miles long. Just me, my dog, my trusty car and this beautiful country. And I couldn’t be more excited.
Are you cringing at that? I know a lot of people dread long car rides by themselves. But I secretly love them. I like the quiet and self reflection that comes from traveling alone. It provides a great opportunity to unplug, unwind and take in some gorgeous scenery. So if things are a little quiet around here over the next week, it’s probably because I’m in the middle of nowhere with a crappy internet connection. Or because I have a really great internet connection, but I want to pretend like it’s a crappy internet connection. Do you get what I’m saying?
I firmly believe that snacks are an essential component to any successful road trip. Because I don’t want to get hangry when I’m driving. It’s not safe. So in preparation of my trip, I’ve been stocking up on easy to eat items. About a month back, I made a batch of these Sweet Potato, Apple and Chickpea Empanadas and I realized that they would be perfect travel food. They are hearty, satisfying and easy to eat with one hand. So I whipped up a second batch and they are currently tucked away in the cooler of my car, ready to be devoured at a moments notice (although I’ll be eating them cold, I highly suggest YOU eat them warm!).
Making empanadas is pretty straightforward and not nearly as time consuming or complicated as I had imagined. You can prepare the filling while the dough is rising. And once you get the hang of filling and folding them, it’s actually quite easy. I do encourage you resist the urge to over stuff the dough, because you don’t want the insides spilling out all over the place. And don’t worry if they aren’t all identical looking (see my photographic evidence!). That’s what makes them so endearing.
These Sweet Potato, Apple and Chickpea Empanadas are great game day snacks. Or serve them with soup and a salad to turn them into a cozy Fall dinner that the whole family will love!
OK, I better get on my way. Make sure to follow along with me on Instagram to see what adventures await me and to see what else I’m eating along my trip!
Recipe adapted from Marcus Samuelsson via Better Homes and Gardens
Sweet Potato, Apple and Chickpea Empanadas
- For the Dough
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cups shortening
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 2 1/2 - 3 cups all-purpose flour
- For the Filling
- 2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup apples, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 tsp. shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- For Finishing
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. water
- About 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
- Make the dough. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer. Pour the heated milk into the bowl of your stand mixer and add the shortening and butter. Let everything sit for 10-15 minutes, until the fats have melted and the liquid has cooled to 105-115 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir in the yeast and let everything sit for another 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, start mixing with the dough hook attachment on low speed. Gradually add in 2 1/2 cups of the flour. Once the flour is incorporated, beat the dough on medium speed for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic. If the dough is sticky, add in another 1-2 tablespoons of flour. Using your hands, shape the dough into a ball and then place it back in your mixing bowl. Cover the bowl loosely with a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm spot in your house until it has doubled in size, about 35-45 minutes.
- While the dough is rising, make the filling. In a medium saucepan, combine the sweet potatoes, apples, coconut milk, garlic and curry powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, covered, for about 12-15 minutes. The potatoes and apples should be very soft. Remove from the heat. Pour off any remaining liquid you may have. Then lightly mash the mixture with a fork. Fold in the remaining ingredients. Set aside.
- Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and the water. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Punch down the risen dough. On a well floured surface, roll the dough out into a long, thin log. Then cut the dough into 22 equal-sized pieces. Working with just a couple of pieces at a time, shape the dough pieces into balls. Then roll them out into 3 1/2- to 4-inch circles. Prick the surface of the dough with a fork, then brush the edges with the egg wash. Place a rounded tablespoon of the filling in the center of each dough round. Fold the dough in half and press the edges together, first with your fingers and then with the tines of a fork. Transfer the empanadas to your parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Continue working until all the empanadas have been formed.
- Bake the empanadas in your pre-heated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush the tops with the egg wash. Then sprinkle with some of the shredded Parmesan cheese. Return the empanadas to your oven and bake for another 3 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the cheese has melted . Remove from the oven and let the empanadas cool slightly on their baking sheets.
- Using a spatula, transfer the empanadas to a serving platter. Enjoy while still warm.
- Empanadas are best when eaten fresh from the oven. But they can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 1-2 days and re-heated before serving.