I have had a lifelong interest in wild edible plants, otherwise often referred to as weeds. My mom first sparked my interest when she informed me that nasturtium leaves were edible. About the same time a childhood friend introduced me to sheep sorrel and other wild edibles. My thirst for knowledge grew from there.
The other day I harvested a few amaranth and purslane plants growing wild in the garden and cooked them up. Didn’t have a specific plan for the cooked greens but knew I would come up with one.
I ran across some empanada pastry dough discs in the freezer and was inspired to make some savory turnovers using rice, cooked wild greens and cheese for a filling. I am not a pastry chef or any kind of chef, for that matter, and have never attempted this sort of thing before. Yeah, I know it’s kind of cheating to use pre-made frozen pastry dough, but this is my first time so I forgive myself.
I started by dry roasting some cumin seeds in a skillet, added some olive oil, chopped onions, seeded and chopped jalapeños and kosher salt.
After sautéing a few minutes some chili powder.
This mixture was added to the reheated wild greens.
I dusted a surface with whole wheat flour and laid out the thawed empanada pastry disks on which I placed small amounts of cooked rice, wild greens mixture and grated cheese.
Wetting the edge of half the pastry with a finger dipped in water the other half was folded over and pressed to seal with a fork. It’s not the prettiest, but keep in mind this is my first time!
I arranged the filled pastries on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brushed the tops with egg wash (not pictured). Baked at 400ºF (205ºC) for 25 minutes, they came out golden brown and looking great, if I say so myself!
These savory turnovers exceeded my expectations and tasted great. Plum sauce as a dip would have been a good accompaniment. I dipped them in homemade tamarind / date chutney.
There are a few leftover empanada pastry discs left in the refrigerator. I’m thinking, next time, maybe a sweet pastry filled with medjool dates soaked in coconut rum. Perhaps tomorrow…