Barbados shuts down for Easter. The grocery stores are closed on Good Friday then open limited hours Saturday (this leads to total mayhem so I just act as if it doesn't open at all) and then closed on Sunday and Monday. I knew my options would be thin after the shut down but the recipe for Beefless Empanadas had to be made today (I promised!) so I held my breath and plunged into the wonders of Big "B".
Empandada is a strong word. Proper Empanadas are made by skilled humans in accordance with their cultural cuisine. I did not make Empanadas. All things considered, I made delicious little "Mexican Brunch Puffs". Behold the creation that was born from a bad day at the grocery store:
Ingredients for 12 puffs:
8 oz. Loma Linda Vege-Burger (there were no Morningstar Starters)
1 pkg Jus Rol 'Vol-Au-Vent' (18 per package)
2 small yellow onions - diced fine (would've killed for 1 big sweet vidalia but alas...)
2 garlic cloves minced
1/4 roasted red pepper
1/2 can drained Rotel - Lime & Cilantro
1/2 jar Bajan "Not Hot Chile Sauce"
1/4 cup of vegan shredded cheese (we only have vegetarian)
1 free range egg - beaten
First, the original recipe called for puff pastry but the only thing at the store was Vol-Au-Vent, little pop-up pastry cups. They rise into fluffy little cups all on their own. Genius! The traditional Empanada flew out the door with this purchase.
Second, the "Not Hot" is a specialty item unless you're in Barbados. A great substitute would be a mild hot sauce mixed with a can of diced green chiles (an item we rarely have here). OR Goya Sofrito in your grocery store.
On to the recipe:
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and move the top rack just north of center. Spread the cute little Vol-Au-Vent disks on a non-stick baking sheet and moisten all edges with beaten egg. Wait for the pre-heat and then pop them in the oven for 13-15 minutes until golden brown.
Saute the onions, garlic and roasted red pepper in a tablespoon of olive oil or non-stick canola spray Add the Vege-Burger, Rotel and a good chug of the Not Hot or substitute. Simmer all down for about 10 minutes.
When the little pastry puffs are cooled, carefully poke the center circle out of the top. I pushed the little top down into the cup because who doesn't love more pastry? Carefully fill the pastry bowls with the filling and add an extra teaspoon on top.
Shred a little vegan/vegetarian cheese on top and then pop back in the hot oven for about 1 minute until the cheese begins to melt. Top with a little more Not Hot or salsa of your choice and serve em' up!
I just ate four and couldn't be happier!