Acorn Squash + Goat Cheese +Prosciutto Empanadas

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How was your Super Bowl Sunday?  Ours was filled with friends and babies, waay too much food and plenty of wine.  A pretty stellar combination if you ask me.  I had no real rooting interest in the game itself since we’re a Chicago Bears family, but to keep it interesting I placed some prop bets and made sure to catch the commercials and halftime show.  I was rooting for the Panthers (who lost), my turkey chili got a little burnt (oops! was the distraction the toddler or wine?) and I lost most (all) of my bets (i.e. Beyonce’s shoe color, will Peyton Manning cry and/or retire…) BUT these acorn squash + goat cheese + prosciutto empanadas were kind of a winner!

Among the turkey chili, potato wedges, chili cheese dip, meatballs and wings (two kinds!) and copious amounts of tortilla chips on our Super Bowl spread, I decided to accompany the table with these little empanadas.  Though they’re not your typical “football” food and definitely take more time to prepare than most appetizers, they are worth it!  And you know what?  I felt pretty accomplished after these babies came out of the oven.

The process is a bit time-consuming, especially when making everything, including the dough, from scratch but the good news is it can be done in stages.  All I had to do on Super Bowl Sunday is warm these in a super-low oven for about 10-15 minutes.  I ended up making the dough Friday night and letting it rest in the refrigerator, roasting the squash and preparing the filling Saturday morning and finally assembling and baking the empanadas Saturday night.  The timing worked perfectly.

I’ve been on an acorn squash kick lately (by way of enchilada sauce!!) so I used that instead of butternut to change things up a bit.  The addition of herbs, spices, salty prosciutto and creamy goat cheese completed the filling.  The savory, uber-flaky crust wraps everything up into a perfect little pocket of flavor just waiting to be devoured.  Hungry yet?


acorn squash + goat cheese + prosciutto empanadas

I used this dough recipe, only substituting whole wheat pastry flour for all-purpose flour. Also, you will probably end up with more squash filling than needed for 4″ empanadas.  Just refrigerate and find another use for it, I’m betting it would taste pretty fabulous on some avocado toast!

RECIPE

  • 1 medium acorn squash, roasted
  • 2 tbs chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp fine-grain sea salt
  • dash freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4-5 pieces prosciutto
  • egg wash
  • sesame seeds for topping, black and/or white

 

Preheat oven to 350°.  Cut three slits in the acorn squash to allow it to breathe.  Add squash to an inch of water in a shallow baking dish.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until squash is soft.  Allow to cool completely before slicing in half and removing seeds.  Set seeds aside and remove the rest of the flesh into a medium-sized mixing bowl.  If needed, this can be done in advance and kept refrigerated.

While squash is roasting, sauté shallot and garlic in a bit of olive oil until translucent and browned, about 5-8 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Using the same pan, cook the prosciutto until fat is rendered and crispy.  Place cooked prosciutto on paper towel to drain.  Once cool to the touch, chop prosciutto into tiny pieces.

Once shallot, garlic and prosciutto are done cooking add them to the bowl with the flesh of the acorn squash along with the parsley, oregano, sumac, paprika, salt and pepper.  Using the back of a fork, mash everything together until well mixed.  Taste and add a bit more salt, herbs, etc. to your liking.

Roll the dough approximately 1/8″ thick on a floured work surface to press out the circles for the empanadas.  I used a 4″ cutter for smaller ones, but a 6″ cutter could certainly be used.  Dollop about a tablespoon of the squash mixture onto one half of the circle, making sure to leave space around the edge.  Add a dollop of goat cheese on top and fold over the circle.  Lightly press down the edge with your finger and use the prongs of a fork to seal.  Lightly brush the top with the egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.  Repeat this process for remaining empanadas.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes until golden brown on top.  Serve warm.

I made these a day in advance and just warmed in the oven at the lowest temperature (170°) for about 10 minutes.

 

(based on Sprouted Kitchen’s recipe)

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Acorn Squash + Goat Cheese +Prosciutto Empanadas

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