Black Bean Empanadas

9 Feb

DoneI love how recipe writers lay their directions out there like it will be no problem to follow along and come up with the perfect dish. Then when I turn my kitchen into an utter disaster (I mean seriously, flour everywhere) and my result looks vaguely like I dropped a small bomb in the center of what I was cooking, I basically feel I was deceived. The saving grace for this empanada recipe is that disaster or not, they were delicious!

The very first thing you’re suppose to do is let the puff pastry sheets thaw for 40 minutes before you start working with them. The box says to lay them out on the counter. Now, I’d never worked with puff pastry before so I was surprised to find the sheets were all folded up! And because they’re frozen, not particularly inclined to unfold!

It worked out – I let them thaw for about 40 minutes and then laid them out to finish thawing while I cooked the empanada stuffing.


The stuffing part was at least easy and straight forward. First, saute the garlic and red pepper. (I read somewhere to always start with a hot skillet and when you think its hot enough, to wait another minute or two. I try to follow that when I’m not too impatient.)


Add the green onion.


Add the tomato sauce, beans, and spices. The original recipe is “Spicy” Black Bean Empanadas but I’m a spice weeny so mine were pretty mild.


Finally add the cheese. Everything is good with cheese.


Now comes the fun part – working with the puff pastry. When the package says to use a lot of flour, do it. You’re also supposed to roll then out a bit more. I found there was a kind of sweet spot – the first sheet was still a little cold and hard to work with and the last sheet had been sitting too long and was kind of sticky. Lots of flour helped.


The recipes says to cut 9-12, 2-1/2 inch circles out of each sheet. I have comments about that, too, but I’ll save them for a bit later.


Then, put a teaspoon of filling (yes a teaspoon!) into the center of the circles.


Fold the pastry over the filling and crimp the edges. Look how cute they are!


There was some direction about brushing the tops with an egg/water mixture which I did with about half (and those did turn out a nicer golden-y color) but I was reaching the end of my enthusiasm. I didn’t really over fill the empanadas but they did not come out looking perfect and contained like the recipe promised.


Pretty delicious but kind of puny. The filling to pastry ratio wasn’t great, and I was tired of cutting out stupid circles, so I went for some giant circle pockets with the last sheet of pastry!


These were less cute but more satisfying. I’m willing to give this recipe another try – its a potential for my April beer dinner – but I’m going to use this circle size (like 4 inches??) and fold them over. A little more bean in every bite!

IMG_7618About halfway through cooking I was getting tired and hungry so went ahead and opened up a Gold Digger IPA by Auburn Alehouse. Super delicious without being overwhelmingly hoppy and bitter (I’m new to IPAs) and it was a nice compliment to the empanadas when I finally sat down to eat.

It take make clean up a little bit tricker. And I had a lot to clean up.


I mean, a lot.


Black Bean Empanadas

I found the original recipe here, which is an adaptation from a Pepperidge Farm recipe.

Everything you’ll need:

  • 2 packages (17.3 ounces each) puff pastry sheets (4 sheets), thawed
  • 1 beaten egg + 1 Tablespoon water (for brushing on top)
  • 1 small red pepper, diced (about 2/3 cup) – use bell pepper or hot pepper depending on your spice tolerance
  • 4 medium green onions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped (I left this out)


For the filling:

  1. Cook the red pepper (~2/3 cup) and garlic (1 clove) in a skillet over medium-high heat until tender.
  2. Add the green onions (~1/2 cup) and cook 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato sauce (1/2 cup), beans (1 can), chili powder (1 teaspoon), and crushed red pepper (1/8 teaspoon). Reduce the heat to low and cook 5-10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese (1-1/2 cups) and cilantro (1/4 cup). Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Preparing the pastry:

  1. The pastry should be thawed for 40 minutes before working with it.
  2. Unfold one pastry sheet onto a floured surface and roll the pastry sheet into a 16×12-inch rectangle.
  3. Cut 9-12, 2-1/2 inch circles from the pastry.
  4. Repeat with the remaining sheets – you should get about 40 in all.

Assembling the empanadas:

  1. Brush the edges of pastry circles with a mixture of one beaten egg+1 Tablespoon of water (I did this step before #2 but the original directions switches the order).
  2. Spoon 1 teaspoon of filling on half of each pastry circle. Fold the pastry over the filling and crimp with a fork to seal.
  3. Place the filled pastries onto a baking sheet and brush the pastries with the egg mixture (<– not essential but does give them nice color).

Bake for 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees until golden brown. Remove the pastries from the baking sheets and let cool, if you can wait, for 10-15 minutes before serving!

Next time I make these I’m going to try freezing a few by placing the unbaked empanadas on a baking sheet and putting then in the freezer until firm, then putting them in a plastic bag. The original recipe says you can cook them as normal.


4 Responses to “Black Bean Empanadas”


  1. Vegetarian Tortilla Soup | Flour & Hops - February 25, 2013

    […] also took out a few frozen Black Bean Empanadas which I had made two weeks ago while my mom was visiting and they reheated awesomely! I had […]

  2. Mini Tamale Pies | Flour & Hops - March 11, 2013

    […] considering it for my April beer dinner but I think I’ll look for another beer to go with my empanadas. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the beer, but the Belgian-ness doesn’t really go […]

  3. April Beer Dinner – Ambers & Reds | Flour & Hops - April 17, 2013

    […] I paired with Sweetgrass American Pale Ale by Grand Teton Brewing Co. That was followed up with Black Bean Empanadas expertly constructed with the crew’s help. This was paired with Firestone Walker’s […]

  4. Meal Planning! | Flour & Hops - July 22, 2014

    […] Black Bean Empanadas […]

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