Friday, December 13, 2013

A Whole Lotta Empanada....Baked Vegan "Chicken" Empanadas with Aji Sauce

I love Latin food!  Bursting with flavor....a little bit of spice, savory and actually quite versatile.  You can really make tons of variations of an empanada.  Go with "meat", vegetables, or even a sweet route using pineapples and plaintains (ooooh, I may have to try that!)

If you are wondering what emapanadas are, they are similar to a calzone or simosa in that it is a meat/vegetable filled "pie".  You can either bake or fry them, but of course, I always prefer to bake.  Kind of just think of a crispy, flaky dough filled with yummy-ness.

If you are feeling adventurous, by all means, make your own dough.  I actually had pie dough in my refrigerator already, so I just took a glass and cut out round pieces.  If you go the store bought route, be sure you check ingredients and that it is vegan!

 Traditionally, they are accompanied with a tasty sauce, called Aji sauce.  This is packed with heat, herbs, onions and peppers.  If you are not a fan of spice, opt for a roasted green bell pepper instead of an aji or polbano pepper.

To cool off your palate, you may also want to accompany your empanadas with vegan sour cream.  It is a nice balance between the heat and savory!

Baked Vegan "Chicken" Empanadas

Empanada Recipe:
Dough sheets (cut into round circles using a molding or glass)
1 c tvp crumples 
1 chick'n bouillon cube plus 1 cup water
3 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp chillies in adobo sauce
1/2 green bell pepper chopped
1/2 yellow onion chopped
1/4 c mushrooms chopped
2 tbsp chopped green olives, pitted
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 garlic clove minced
1 tbsp evoo 
1 tbsp egg powder replacer plus water

Preheat oven 425.  In small pot, boil water and bouillon cube and add in tvp.  Stir, turn off heat and let sit for about 10-15 minutes.  In meantime, in saute pan, heat evoo and saute garlic, onions and bell pepper for 3-5 minutes.  Add in mushrooms and saute for an additional 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add sauteed veggies to tvp mixture and add in remaining ingredients, stirring until thoroughly mixed.  Season to taste.
With room temperature dough, take your cut out circles and spoon 1-2 tbsp of the mixture into each one.  Fold and seal with fork.  Lightly brush with "egg" wash and place in greased baking dish.  Continue process until your dough or mixture is gone.  
Bake for 30 minutes.  Keep an eye on them to make sure they do not overcook!   

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