November 30, 2010

Empanadas de Zapallo y Queso de Cabra–Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Empanadas

Empanadas squash and goat cheese I 

For the last week or so, like most Americans, I've been talking turkey. (gobble, gobble) It's because of Thanksgiving, of course!  Whether you like to cook or just like to eat, food is at the center of the day.  It's either a day one looks forward to (those who are eating) or dreads (those who are hosting).

Now that our son, Esteban, is three, one of my concerns is also trying to incorporate my husband's Argentinean culture into our family celebrations alongside my American one.  It's important to both of us  that both of our backgrounds are honored and that Esteban feels at home in both places. We want him not just to be proud of his lineage, but also to understand the different cultures he comes from–and hopefully he'll have 'the best of both worlds'. 

Thanksgiving is a 100% American holiday.  And even though we aren't one of those families that eats loads of turkey and then parks ourselves on the couch to watch football, (though if soccer were the game of choice, it would be a different story!)we enjoy all our favorite 'American style' dishes.

All the Argentineans I talked to were all planning to eat a traditional American Thanksgiving meal–turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.  I have to admit I was pretty surprised to hear that none of our friends were planning to do some of the more typical Argentinean dishes for the holiday, (what do you mean, there's no asado!?) but Thanksgiving is a tradition they have adopted from being in the U.S., and they save their own favorites to share at other festivities.  And much as I would have loved to make an all out Argentinean-style meal (stay tuned for Christmas!), I'm going to admit that there wasn't too much Argentinean influence at our Thanksgiving table. 

Alas.  I had to do something to pay homage to my husband's heritage, so I whipped up a quick dozen of these scrumptious empanadas to start off the meal.  Since squash is part of the New World, and empanadas part of the Old, they were right at home with the rest of the dishes on our table.  They go well with bubbly or Chardonnay, and actually, they'd be the perfect thing to bring to a holiday party where you're asked to bring something to share.  (and the vegetarians will love you!)

This year, I was also asked by Eric and Tiffany at The Guerilla Gourmet to take part in their national showcase of Thanksgiving Day celebrations.  I can't wait to see what all the other bloggers have contributed, and see how so many different people celebrate their day.  Head over to their site and check it out.  Hope you had a wonderful day full of everything you love–people and food alike.  And without further ado, I bring you the recipe!

Find me on facebook:  Rebecca Caro or From Argentina With Love, on twitter: @RebeccaCaro, I can be reached by email at

Empanadas squash and goat cheeseII 

Empanadas de Zapallo y Queso de Cabra

Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Empanadas

A nice variation would be to use pureed pumpkin in place of the butternut squash.  This would also be great with fresh herbs added in (Basil or Parsley) or dried herbs (Thyme or Oregano).

1 15 oz. can of butternut squash puree (or about 2 cups homemade puree)

1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and fresh-ground pepper, to taste

3 oz. goat cheese (small sized log)

12 pre-made or homemade tapas or discos for empanadas

1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

Flour, for dusting.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Dust a baking sheet with flour.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion to the skillet, and let cook until transluscent.  Remove from heat and let cool for about ten minutes. 

Put the squash puree into a medium sized bowl.  Stir in the cooked onion and mix until incorporated.  Lay out the tapas four at a time on a clean countertop, lightly dusted with flour.  Put out a small glass of water for sealing the empanadas.

Place a heaping tablespoon of the butternut squash filling in the center of the empanada shell.  Add in a spoonfull or slice (however soft/crumbly your goat cheese is) on top of the squash mixture.

Moisten the edge on the top half of the shell with a little water on your finger. Fold the bottom half of the dough up until the edges meet and seal with your fingers by pressing down. The empanada should have a half-moon shape.

Use the palms of the hands to pack the filling firmly in the center.  Next, fold the edges with the Repulgue: (Video clip) using your fingertip, fold one corner of the empanada over, pressing down firmly.  Go to the edge again and repeat, pressing firmly each time. Move around the edge of the empanada and you'll get a spiral pattern. You can also use a fork-seal, instead. 

Paint the top of each sealed empanada with the beaten egg so that when they bake, they have a shiny, golden shell. Place the finished empanadas on the baking sheets. Put the empanadas in to bake for 12 to 15 minutes-they should be golden brown on top. Take out and let cool slightly before serving, and eat very carefully while hot!



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