Saturday, November 30, 2013

3 Bean Chili Empanadas

I am revisitng some of my own past recipes. Originally I posted about empanadas in November of 2009. I cannot believe it's been that long! Anyhow these are worth a second look because they are truly outstanding and great to tuck in the freezer for a day when you'd rather be looking through pinterest :)  I love pinterest! It never ceases to amaze me how much collective creativity there is out there!!  Long live Pinterest! And 3 Bean Chili Empanadas :)

Bread Dough for Empanadas:

1 cup organic unbleached white flour
I cup organic whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
2/3 cup soy milk (use original flavor)

Measure flour, baking powder, salt and chili powder into a bowl. Cut in margarine thoroughly. Blend with fork or rub through with both hands until it's all mixed in very well. Add 1/3 cup of the milk. Continue adding the remainder at about the rate of 1 tablespoon at a time until flour is moistened and dough almost cleans side of bowl.

Gather dough into ball. Divide into 12 equal pieces. With the aid of a rolling pin make circles approximately 5" in diameter. If you want them all to be the same exact size (I do) roughly roll out your circles and then press them to fit into a round plastic lid. I used the lid from a two cup round ziploc container -- it's the perfect size for this empanada and you will achieve cloned specimens -- which is the look you are going for! You can of course also roll out the dough and use a 5" cutter but I find my method is easier and you're not constantly rolling and re-rolling which in my mind is more work plus the more you roll the tougher your dough gets. Nevertheless, this is a method that is shown in many cookbooks so who am I to say it's not right! You choose how to get your perfect circles. Anyhow the next step is to put in about 2 tablespoons of filling. Don't go crazy and overfill or you'll have troubles making a proper seal. Pinch closed, sealing edges well. Put on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes.

3 Bean Chili Filling:

Make any kind of chili filling you love!  I made a 3 bean chili using black bean, garbanzo and white navy beans. I used most of the ingredients in my original Veggie Prairie Girl chili but I did not include tofu this time as I went with extra beans instead. For empanadas it's best to chop all the veggies into equal size pieces as much as possible and always grate the carrot. I prefer the grated carrot as I find it gives a nicer mellow carrot flavor that way. Otherwise I find the carrot flavor can overpower some of the other veggies. It's difficult to find a truly beautiful flavored carrot these days - at least that's my experience! Best carrots are those obtained from small alberta vegetable farms but that is not always possible in dead of winter for me.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Chickpea Potato Spinach Hash

I am always looking for new ways to feature my favorite legume "the chickpea"! It truly is the most versatile bean in the legume family. From hummus to falafel to socca this bean keeps me coming back for more. I'm a bit picky about the taste and texture of chickpeas - I know I should be cooking them from scratch but there was a good sale on organic Eden chickpeas and I stocked up! They are a stellar company and their cans are BPA free so I feel pretty good about using them. I still don't find them soft enough so I like dishes where they can kind of stew around a bit and soak up a little extra flavor whilst they soften up! This dish does just that.

And yes I do slip off all the chickpea skins! If you have a nice kitchen window that looks outside onto a tree that has cute little birdie visitors it's not so bad at all (I am very fortunate to have such a view)!  I'm not worried about losing a little fiber either - I eat a ton of vegetables and oat bran! So peel or don't - it's up to you! Tastes better sans the peel though!

I have made this particular dish with and without rice! Both ways are delicious though lately I am a big fan of the taste of rice in casserole style dishes! I have also put all ingredients into pan at once which is the method I used in photo above. If you prefer a little chunkier style hash use steps below. If you don't mind more mashed hash do it all at one time.

Step #1 - Get a bag of great organic potatoes. I recommend these. They were available at my local safeway store.

Step #2 - Scrub and peel about  8 of these as organic potatoes are generally not that large. Dice and put in deep fry pan. Add at least 2 cups of spring water to start. Put on the heat and let water start boiling. Turn to simmer.

Step #3 - Add about 1 cup of chickpeas with skins slipped off!

Step #4 - Add your favorite spices. I always like a little chili powder, garlic powder, curry, pepper, salt and a few teaspoons of my favorite organic veggie bouillon powder. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on your water level to avoid potato starch taking over the bottom of your pan!

Step #5 -  Add 300 gm of frozen chopped spinach. This year I am crazy about the taste of  EarthBound cut organic spinach! Seriously they should win an award for best ever frozen spinach! So much flavor! Let everything simmer for another 10 minutes or so.

Then add 1 cup of cooked rice if you like (I used Basmanti today).  Let it simmer until potatoes are done to your liking. Add water as needed throughout this process to keep mixture from sticking to your pan.

#6 - Check often and stir and adjust seasonings as required. I added another couple teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon , No Chicken Base and some paul bragg liquid amino acid.