Thursday, October 18, 2012

Friday Night Bites | Pumpkin Empanadas with Cilantro Mint Chutney

Where has the month of October gone?  It is already the 18th and it seems like the calendar just flipped from September to October.  Living in the Bay Area, the seasons are not quite as distinct as other parts of the country yet we do have our seasons.  Right now we are experiencing what we call “Indian Summer”.  This is the time of the year when it is officially fall yet it seems like summer.  Today the temperatures reached 90 degrees.  Don’t get me wrong, I personally love the warmer weather, but having some cold and rain might be a nice change.

After listening to the weather forecast, it is going to change on Monday with the temps cooling and rain is expected.  I must admit that I absolutely love the flavors of fall with the rich soups, hearty pasta dishes and braised meats.  This year I am obsessed with all things pumpkin.  While thumbing through the latest issue of Sunset Magazine, I could not help but be entranced with a recipe for Pumpkin Curry Empanadas.  Making empanadas has been on my list for quite sometime and not time like the present to whip up a batch.  This would be my introductory recipe into the world of empanadas.

Several weeks ago while visiting the San Francisco Ferry Building; I spied a new spot in one of the corners of the building called El Porteno which serves hand made empanadas.  From traditional to contemporary flavors, there is an empanada to suit everyone’s taste.

Last Friday for our weekly wine and appetizer night, I thought I would serve the pumpkin empanadas that I made the weekend before and froze.  Yes I said froze.  They are a perfect snack to make ahead of time and then simply brush with egg wash and bake.  They were simply perfect.  We invited our good friend Kathryn over for the evening.  I switched out the curry spice blend in favor of using garam masala.  Between the flavor of the roasted pumpkin and the garam masala, it was a delightful bite.  I made the suggested chutney to accompany the empanadas and it was a perfect addition.

As for a wine pairing, you could actually go with a nice Spanish white wine or Cava.  However, one of my favorite white wines is Conundrum.  It is a proprietary blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Muscat Canelli and Viognier.  The fruit for the wine is sourced from Napa, Monterey, Santa Barbara and Tulare Counties.  The wine has endless layers and aromas but is extremely balanced with a subtle complexity.  When you first sniff, you will smell aromas of green apple, tangerine and honeysuckle.  You can taste peach, apricot nectar and pear with hints of citrus and a subtle vanilla undertone.  If you have never had this wine, I highly encourage you to pick up a bottle. 

For a delightful bite for your Friday night or weekend gathering, this Pumpkin Empanada is a sure winner and your guests will thank you!

Pumpkin Empanadas with Cilantro Mint Chutney

1 T. Olive oil
12 ounces cubed peeled baking pumpkin
1 Large onion, finely chopped
1 T. + 1 t. Garam Masala
¼ C. Currants, softened 10 minutes in hot water to cover
Salt and pepper
1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Rub a rimmed baking sheet with 1 t. oil.  Spread pumpkin on sheet and roast, uncovered, turning once, till tender when pierced, 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until translucent.  Stir in garam masala and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Transfer onion to a medium mixing bowl.  Drain the currents and stir into the bowl.  Add warm pumpkin and mix well, mashing with back of a spoon to create a slightly chunky mixture.

Working with one pie dough disk at a time, roll dough on a lightly floured surface into a 1/8 inch thick round.  Using a 4 inch ring cutter, cut out 20 circles, re-rolling scraps.  Mix 1 tablespoon water with the egg yolk and brush onto the dough rounds.  Spoon 1 tablespoon pumpkin mixture into center of each round, fold over, and seal edges with tines of a fork.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Arrange empanadas on sheet, slightly apart.  Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve with chutney.

Cilantro Mint Chutney

1 t. Red chili flakes
2 C. Cilantro leaves
12 large fresh mint leaves
2 T. olive oil
1 T. fresh lemon juice
½ t. salt

In a food processor, pulse red chili flakes, cilantro and mint until reduced in volume by half.  Add 2 T. water, the oil, lemon juice and salt.  Whirl until smooth, adding more oil if needed.

Pie Dough

3 C. Flour
1 T. Sugar
1 ½ t. salt
1 C. Butter, cold and cubed

Whirl together in a food processor the flour, sugar and salt.  Add the butter and pulse into pea size pieces.  Drizzle 2/3 cups very cold water over crumbs and pulse until moistened.  Turn dough onto a work surface and gather into a ball, turning to combine any dry crumbs.  Divide dough in half, form each into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes.


  1. Indian summer is one of my favorite "mini" seasons. And this is the perfect dish to celebrate all it's warm flavours!

  2. Beautiful empanadas! I love the pumpkin filling and your chutney sounds fab!

  3. I like these pumpkin empanadas for Indian Summer! I think we're cooling off next week;-) The color of your chutney is gorgeous -very pretty with the pumpkin filling. Sounds like a wonderful Friday night bite;-)

  4. Yum, Lisa! Perfect little pumpkin bite, indeed! Hope you are enjoy this beautiful weather we are having.

  5. Oooh! I'm always looking forward to Friday night bites! It's a sweet intro to the weekend! Sigh...I'm wishing for an Indian Summer here in Toronto. So far, it didn't come :(

  6. What divine empanadas!!! Delicious combo of flavors!!!

  7. What a yummy looking appetizer, the contrast of the colors wis beautiful and I bet they tasted wonderful too, wish I lived close by to come over for teasers!

  8. I was just thinking that it's time to make empanadas again but I would have been happier to enjoy these ones you made. I love the fall-themed flavors.

  9. Great empanadas and I LOVE your photos. They make me feel very welcome at your table. :)

  10. Omigosh, the perfect bites to surprise a niece who just returned from Buenos Aires. These look delicious!

  11. Oh the pumpkin and the garam masala together - yum! I love things you can make ahead, freeze, and then take out when you want them!

  12. we ate all 30 of these in one sitting.. scrumptious! Going to pingback very soon. Wish my photos came out as nice as yours.. none the less, they were delicious

  13. The fall weather, especially this month I anticipate to make pumpkin empanadas; it brings back memories of my childhood & mom. Your beautiful presentation makes it even more inviting. Thank you for the reminder & your recipe; definitely looking forward to baking them. Yum!!!

  14. I'm going to try this for a wine dinner tomorrow night! Excellent idea, Friday Night Bites. Wow! You have come a LONG WAY since January. Your site is still beautiful and pics amazing!


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