My overarching theme for this year is about being brave. I realized at the end of last year, that fear motivates a lot of things I do or decisions I make. The fear of failing, of people not liking me, a fear of being misunderstood or undervalued, fear of pain or conflict or not having enough money. It's wasted time really, and I recognize that. There is a Donald Miller quote, "fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life," and I sure don't want that. The most rewarding moments I can remember have been those when I pushed myself a little. I don't have much to say on the topic besides that it's on my mind. To take risks, to make decisions prior to over thinking them, to stop worrying so much. No tiny violins at all, I just hope that in my writing, my food and my time here, I can trust myself a bit more.
I haven't had the greatest luck with pastry dough but Hugh has an affinity for empanadas so they've been on my "to make" list for quite some time. Americans call them hand-pies, Italians call them calzones, the Argentinians call them empanadas and they're each some version of a stuffed dough. I love the spiced squash and goat pairing here, but you could play around and fill them with whatever you like. The small ones would make cute appetizers or the larger ones would be easy to pack for a picnic or a road trip. I will make these again, hopefully with a bit more patience on the dough side of things.
Hope you enjoy them. Happy weekend.
SQUASH + GOAT CHEESE EMPANADAS // Makes about 20 minis or 10 larger
Recipe adapated from Give Me Flour
I suppose you could use any winter squash you'd like here. I tried to give options for spice and herbs, so you can alter the filling to your preference. I used chipotle powder for a bit of heat, but smoked paprika will work well too.
// dough //
- to spare repeating, see here
- (the only change I made was sub in 3/4 cup whole wheat flour for some of the unbleached flour)
// filling //
- 1 small butternut squash
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika or chipotle powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 Tbsp. chopped green herbs (some combination of sage, parsley, cilantro, thyme)
- 5 oz. goat cheese (her choice) or jack cheese (his choice)
- egg wash (1 egg and a splash of water, well whisked)
- sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 425'.
Follow the dough recipe according the link provided. Wrap it up and keep chilled in the fridge. This cane be done a day in advance.
Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Drizzle it with the olive oil and rub it into the flesh and a bit on the skin. Sprinkle it with salt and cinnamon and roast for about 45-50 minutes, or until the flesh is very soft. Remove and let it cool completely.
While the squash is cooking, saute the garlic and shallot in a bit of olive oil until just browned. About 8-10 minutes.
Once the squash is cool to the touch, scoop the flesh into a bowl. Add another pinch of salt, the paprika or chipotle powder, nutmeg, the sauteed garlic and shallots and the green herbs. Use the back of a fork and mash everything together well. Taste the mix and add as you wish, maybe a bit more salt, heat, etc.
Turn the oven down the 350'. Prepare a parchment lined baking sheet. Roll out the dough to about 1/8'' thickness on a floured work surface and press out the circles for your empanadas. You can use 4'' cutters for small ones, or 6-8'' for a larger size. Leaving plenty of space around the edge, put a dollop of the squash in the center, followed by a dollop of cheese, and fold the circle over. Press the edge with your finger to seal and then press along the edge with the tins of a fork. This got a bit messy for me, stay calm. Lay the empanadas on the baking sheet and brush the tops with the egg wash. Sprinkle the sesame seeds and some thyme leaves and bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes or until just golden. Enjoy warm.