Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas

These little pasties are really moreish and pretty simple to make, albeit there’s a few different elements to prepare. Given that, I have no compunction about using ready made puff pastry, though if you’re prepared to make your own, these could be even nicer I imagine! When I’m making these, I do extra black beans as they can be used in other dishes, like Mexican Rice and Beans or even fried up in a lot of butter, garlic and a touch of thyme, until they’re more like a mash – yummy!

Makes 20/Serves 5-6   |  45  mins prep plus 3.5 hrs cooking (2.5 of that for the black beans)

Ingredients

  • 4-5 medium sweet potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 cups cooked black beans (see below if you’re cooking these from scratch)
  • 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil
  • One medium onion, finely chopped
  • One clove garlic finely chopped or minced
  • One red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander and chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chilli flakes or 1 tsp chipotle chilli paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • One pack ready rolled puff pastry
  • One egg beaten
  • Butter for mashing the potatoes

For the black beans if using dried

  • 250g dried black turtle beans
  • One onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, bashed with a rolling pin
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2-3 sprigs thyme
  • One star anise
  • 1 tbsp sea salt

You will also need…

  • A large circular pastry cutter- 8-10cm
  • A lightly greased baking sheet, lined with greaseproof paper

Method

  1.  If you’re making the black beans from scratch, start with those. I don’t soak these beans before cooking – I don’t think there’s any need or any added benefit. Just add the beans to a large pot with enough room for water to cover the beans by at least 10 cm, add in all the other ingredients (except the salt), cold water – at least 10 cm above the beans – and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and allow them tyo cook for about 2.5 hrs until the beans are tender, but haven’t started to break up. Add the salt just at the end before you drain the beans. When cooked, drain and rinse with cold water a few times over a colander.

    The cooked black beans – mash leftovers with garlic and butter in a hot pan
  2. Cook the sweet potatoes until quite soft, drain and mash in the pan with a lump of butter and some salt and pepper. Set this aside to cool. Remove the pastry from the fridge and unwrap it while you do the next bit.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter and oil in a small pan and gently fry the onions, garlic and chilli until soft. Add the spices and cook out for a minute or two.
  4. Mix the mashed sweet potato, cooked black beans and the onion and spice mixture until well combined and season with salt and pepper. Let this cool for 15 mins or so before you assemble the empanadas.
  5. Flour your work surface and roll out the pastry a little bit thinner than it already is. Cut out circles using a pastry cutter – somewhere between 8-10 cm should be about right. Keep re-rolling the leftover pastry and cutting out more circles until your pastry is all used up. You should get at least 20 out of a sheet of ready rolled puff pastry (375g).
  6. When you’re ready to assemble, spoon a scant teaspoon of the sweet potato and black bean mix onto each circle – don’t be tempted to overfill as you won’t be able to close up the edges.
  7. When every circle has some filling in the middle, brush a little beaten egg around the edge of half of each circle and then fold them in a half moon shape, squeezing the edges gently with your fingers to seal.
  8. When they’re all filled and closed up, set them on the prepared baking sheet and use a fork to crimp the edges, brush each with beaten egg and either use a fork to poke holes in the top or make two small cuts with a knife in each pasty.
  9. Bake in the oven for about 20 mins. Remove and serve straight away with sour cream and guacamole or salsa – the choice is yours.

Tip

Any leftover sweet potato and bean mix is lovely spread on toasted crusty bread, topped with cheese and grilled or used to make a filling for a quesadilla with lots of cheese and spring onions.