One of the first things that caught my eye in Viva Vegan! was the empanadas. I don't even remember the last time I ate them if ever because they're usually filled with meat. But this cookbook offers up so many delicious versions and my first choice was the shredded seitan and mushrooms empanadas with raisins and olives. How flavourful does that sound? I don't usually like raisins in baked goods but love what they add to savoury dishes.
And the dough was easy enough to make, roll out and work with. When baked, the pastry was crispy and a bit flakey. They could look more perfect if I cut out circles in the dough with a bowl but it's always my preference to avoid re-rolling dough and to simplify things. So I just divided my dough and rolled each piece into a circle. I can't wait to try out the other filling variations like corn crusted pumpkin potato, and beans rice and sweet plantain.
The recipe is time consuming, because you have to make the seitan, the filling, and the dough. But if you take it one part at a time it's not so bad.
If this sounds good, you might also like:
Seitan Black Bean Corn Burgers
Vegan Pot Roast and Gravy
Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Seitan
Shredded Seitan and Mushroom Empanadas with Raisins and Olives
Adapted from Viva Vegan!
1 recipe Empanada Dough (see below)
1/2 recipe Steamed Red Seitan (2 loaves), chilled and grated (see below)
1/2 lb button mushrooms, very finely minced
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb onion, finely minced
2 tbsp red wine
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half
1/3 cup dark raisins
1/3 cup nondairy milk
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and garlic until the garlic starts to sizzle and becomes fragrant. Add in the onion and fry until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and cook until they darken and release their juices, another 5 minutes. Add the red wine, paprika, oregano, cumin and cinnamon, stirring occasionally and bring to a simmer. Stir in the grated seitan and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Use a spoon or silicone spatula to press the seitan into the liquid and vegetables to help the seitan absorb all the seasonings. Remove from the heat, let cool for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the olives and raisins. Set aside to cool.
When ready to assemble the empanadas, preheat oven to 400F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Have ready the prepared dough rounds, nondairy milk (for brushing) and pastry brush.
Take a dough round and lightly brush it with nondairy milk. Scoop a generous 1/3 cup of filling, making sure to get a few raisins and olive slices with each scoop. Place the filling into the center of the round and spread it over half of the round; leave about 1/2 inch of space along the edge of the dough. Make sure the filling doesn't spill over the edge otherwise crimping the edges will be difficult.
Fold the dough over the filling, stretching and pulling it just enough to completely encase everything. (You will now have a semicircular patty.) With your fingers, firmly press down the edges of the dough, then seal by firmly pressing with the tines of a fork into the edges of the empanada. Carefully lift and place on a prepared baking sheet and brush with nondairy milk. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
Bake the empanadas for 24 to 26 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the edges begin to brown. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes before serving, as the filling will be extremely hot out of the oven.
To reheat, either wrap bake at 350F for 8 to 10 minutes or microwave on high for 30 seconds.
Makes enough for 12 large empanadas
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp chilled vegan shortening, cut into 1/2" pieces
4 tbsp chilled vegan margarine, cut into 1/2" pieces
3/4 cup cold water, or more as needed
In a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and baking powder for a few seconds. Add the shortening and margarine, and pulse until everything resembles fine, sandlike crumbs.
Pour the flour mixture into a large bowl and stream in the cold water while mixing the dough with your fingers or a fork. Continue adding just enough cold water that you can press the mixture together to form a soft and stretchy dough. Briefly knead a few times, divide into 2 balls, flatten each into a round about an inch thick, and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Minimize handling of the dough to keep it from getting tough. Chill overnight or for at least 4 hours.
Tear about 12 pieces of waxed paper or parchment paper to about 7 inches squares. Cut one of the dough rounds into 6 pieces (two dough rounds make 12 pieces). On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the cut pieces into a circle of 3/8" thickness, stretching and pulling the dough a little if necessary. To keep the dough from getting tough, use long rolling motions, occasionally lifting the dough by the edges and turning it a little to ensure an even thickness throughout.
Stack the circles of dough on top of one another, separating them with the waxed or parchment paper (to keep them from sticking). Repeat with the remaining 11 pieces of dough to make 12 dough rounds.
Chill the finished dough circles, the entire stack well wrapped in plastic wrap until ready to use.
Steamed Red Seitan
Makes 4 loaves
1 1/2 cups cold vegetable broth
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
In a measuring cup, whisk together the broth, garlic, soy sauce, tomato paste and olive oil. In a large bowl, whisk the wheat gluten, chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, oregano and cumin. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour the liquid ingredients into the well, stirring with a rubber spatula until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough for 2 to 3 minutes to develop the gluten. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes; knead again for 30 seconds. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and lightly knead each piece a few times, shaping each piece into a roughly oblong loaf shape.
Tear off four 12" square pieces of aluminum foil. Place a piece of dough in the center of a piece of foil. Fold the foil around the dough so that the foil is secure but there is some space around the dough to let it expand while steaming. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Place the wrapped dough in a steamer and steam for 30 minutes. Allow the dough to cool to the touch before chilling in the fridge for at least an hour, or overnight.