A Little Sweet… A Little Heat

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Appetizer / Mexican

Chorizo and Sweet Potato Empanada with Salsa Verde

I recently visited a popular restaurant in Los Angeles’ art district, Guerrilla Taco. They are famous for their sweet potato taco. It doesn’t sound like it would be good, but it came highly recommended by the late Jonathan Gold. I wondered how a mushy centered taco would taste in a soft corn shell. Well, it works because he adds chopped corn nuts for crunch. Genius, I tell you! I realized that I don’t use sweet potato enough in my cooking. I thought about where to place it, and how would I add texture. After some experimenting, I think I came up with an answer. I use puff pastry in this recipe, for crunch and flakiness, with a sweet and spicy filling. Salsa Verde adds a much needed tart counterpoint to the empanadas. Enjoy!

Time-1 hour 30 minutes

Servings-11 Empanadas


2 sheets of frozen puff pastry, 9 oz of pork chorizo, 1 large or 11 ounce sweet potato, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1/4 cup chopped green pepper, 1/4 chopped red pepper, 1 garlic clove minced, 2 tsp of honey, 1 TBS of oil, 1 tsp Kosher salt, purchased salsa verde, crema and cilantro for garnish. Egg and water for egg wash.


Remove puff pastry from freezer and start to thaw. In a large saucepan fill with water and place sweet potato in and bring to boil. Once brought to boil lower heat to medium-high until potato is cooked and fork tender all the way through. Place on cutting board and once cooled peel skin from potato and set aside. While cooling prep all the ingredients. Chop onion, peppers, garlic and cilantro. In a non-stick skillet on medium heat add onions and peppers. Sauté onions and peppers until softened. Then add the sweet potato and season with salt. Sauté sweet potato for about 5 minutes. The potato is cooked but this allows the natural sweetness and flavors to combine. Add the garlic last so that it does not burn or add bitterness. Add garlic and cook for no more than one minute.

To complete the filling add the chorizo. It will all start to look the same color and it will be hard to know when the chorizo is cooked because it looks mushy. Sauté the chorizo and sweet potato filling on medium heat for at least 10 minutes. Lastly, add 2 tsp of honey. The honey should not add too much sweetness it’s only there to balance the heat and enhance the sweet potato. Set the filling aside. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Dust your work space with flour so pastry does not stick. Place your 9″ x 9″ pastry and roll out to 14″ x 12″. Use a 5 1/2 inch pastry cutter or in my case a bowl and stamp out rounds.

Once rounds are cut out, place 1 tablespoon of filling and pinch ends together and finish with a fork for crimping. If your dough has trouble sticking use egg wash around ends to help seal. You will have to roll out scraps of puff pastry to get 11 empanadas.

Scramble one egg and 1 tsp of water and brush empanadas. The egg wash will make your empanadas look golden and delicious.

Add a slit for venting and place all empanadas on parchment paper and bake in oven for 25 minutes.

Garnish with creama and cilantro. The empanadas are very sweet and savory if you serve with salsa verde for dipping it really adds a much needed tartness. Enjoy!

Cook’s Note

Make this vegetarian by using soyrizo.

The Author

First off, I'm not a writer. This should be abundantly clear as you read this bio. I'm not a trained Chef either. I'm a Mother, Wife, Registered Nurse and Fraudulent Chef. Why a blog you ask? Well, I don't want to be a line cook, executive Chef, or a restaurant owner. I just want to cook what I want, when I want, and for who I want. Cooking is a creative outlet for me. I don't even consider myself a blogger because I don't blog often. So advertising dollars and web fame is not my motive. Finding the time to cook, write up a recipe, photograph it while maintaining a job and household is challenging. However, it has given me great joy over the years to see people carrying on dishes that I've developed. It's also an online cookbook that I can reflect on. My cooking is an expression of the strong women in my life and inspired dishes from my favorite restaurants. I'm a recipe impostor of dishes from restaurants I love. Furthermore, many of the recipes are spruced up from my childhood. I'm a Mexican-American, native Californian who has spent time in New York and married a first generation Costa Rican. My cooking reflects all of these aspects. Karen's Kitchen is not a Mexican food blog. As much as I'd like to fit into a pretty little red, white and green box. I find it too limiting and reject the notion of creating a Latino point of view because it makes a blog cohesive. So my recipes are all over the place, with no rhyme or reason. Home cooks never apologize for not graduating from culinary school. You will find that my recipes are easy to follow and geared for the home cook. They look amazing and will make you look like a Domestic God/Goddess in front of your loved ones. It's my hope that you find the love for cooking and make some of my recipes your own. Cheers to cooking, eating and surrounding yourself with lovely people.

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