PUMPKIN + CHORIZO EMPANADAS


I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it?

--Anne Shirley, in Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Fall is here.....or is it quite yet? October in the desert is always an exercise in waiting, in longing. Staring intently at photos of everyone else enjoying crisp mornings, cozy flannel, freshly picked apples and woodsmoke and steaming lattes (you know the Three-Letter Seasonal Beverage of which I speak) gets a little disorienting when the weather is determined to hang onto endless summer. A tempting breeze ruffles the leaves just outside my window, the light is all golden-tinged and wonderful....but I am not tempted at all. It's one hundred degrees and it's mid-October and I just plain have summer fatigue. Better to stay indoors, gazing adoringly at photos of pumpkins and woodpiles instead, dreaming of November.



We may not be ready for boots and hot apple cider just yet--if ever!--here in the Southwest, but we can have our pumpkin spice if I have anything to say about it. Just like last year, I'm not exactly feeling that Three-Letter Seasonal Beverage, but I do think the combination of pumpkin and something spicy is a winner. These Pumpkin + Chorizo Empanadas are like perfect little parcels of fall flavor (unladylike admission, you guys? I absolutely love anything that can be picked up and eaten out of hand in a few bites), and they're full of rich, wonderful pumpkin filling with just a hint of smokiness that makes me think of cooler days ahead. Pair this with an earthy, autumnal kale & apple salad in white miso-apple cider vinaigrette (more on that later), and November may as well be here already.



Pumpkin + Chorizo Empanadas

Makes about 12 empanadas

For the dough:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
ice water
1 egg

For the filling :

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1/3 lb ground pork chorizo
1 cup pumpkin puree (I used organic canned pumpkin, but you're welcome to roast your own)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon honey

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder. Add vegetable oil, then sprinkle in ice water a tablespoon at a time until dough reaches a kneadable consistency. Knead only two or three times to form the dough into a bowl, then cover and let rest in fridge for an hour.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, saute onion until translucent. Add chorizo and cook until done, stirring frequently. Add pumpkin, chili powder, cumin and paprika, continue stirring for another minute, then remove from heat. Taste and add salt and honey (feel free to adjust these amounts slightly, to taste), then let filling cool thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment. Remove dough from fridge, pull small bits (slightly larger than a walnut) off it and roll them out individually into flattened squares approximately 3 inches on each side. Place a small spoonful of filling in the center of each, fold the other side over to form a triangle and crimp edges together with a fork. Beat egg and brush the top of each empanada lightly with the mixture. 

Place baking sheet in oven, bake for 22-25 minutes (flipping once, around the 15-minute mark), or until golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool until just warmer than room temperature (beware of steaming hot pumpkin filling burns!), then serve and enjoy.