Empanadas with roasted golden beets, pistachios, raisins and greens

Golden beet, pistachio and golden raisin empanadas

Golden beet, pistachio and golden raisin empanadas

“Did you ever beam in Clio’s eyes?”
“Beam in her eyes? You mean shine a light in them?”
“No, you know, beam in them, you just look right in her face.”
“I suppose…”
“Hagrid and Dumbledore do it all the time.”
“They beam in people’s faces?”
“No, they just beam around. They’re always beaming around.”

At this point in the conversation it became obvious that Isaac was talking about a word Rowling frequently uses to describe an affectionate smile. But before that moment of comprehension, when I was in my early morning daze and enjoying the feeling of charmed confusion that Isaac’s observations often provoke, I had such a different picture of beaming. Just last week I wrote this sentence in these very virtual pages,
“I love to think about people having a light inside them, even being that light. I believe that this is something that every creature has, and as we grow and become jaded and mature, we learn to hide our light, we become closed and dark and careful. You can see it in dogs and children, though, everything they feel comes beaming out of them, unfiltered, unshaded, so bright and powerful you can warm yourself in their glow.” So as I pictured it in my mind, if you beam in someone’s eyes, you shed all the light and warmth of your love and spirit in their direction. You send all the glow of your hope and grace towards them. And probably they’re ignited by your beam, you help to kindle their beam, and then you have mingling beams, which flame higher and brighter than one beam alone. You’re a beamer, and now they’re a beamer, too. If ever I met a beamer, it’s our Isaac. From when he was very tiny, he would smile at people, even at complete strangers, and you could tell that their whole world had brightened perceptibly. He’s always beaming around, that Isaac. I’ve been feeling discouraged today, but I keep thinking about beaming. I keep thinking about people all over the world working so hard and hopefully, just to stay alive, to get by, to get ahead, to make something good; and about all of the rejection and discouragement that casts a dark shadow over everybody. And then I think about all of the beaming going on, all of the beamers in the world, spreading their lights around, breaking through the clouds with great rays and flashes of light. “For beamers came from around and counforted her, beaming that place of darkenesse wyth unspeakable cleernesse.” After all, we all have our own light, we’re all beamers.

Roasted golden beet, raisin and pistachio empanadas

Roasted golden beet, raisin and pistachio empanadas

These empanadas have a sort of golden glowing theme to them. Pretty golden beets, plump golden raisins, warm golden-brown crust. They’re a little sweet because of the raisins and beets, but they have earthy beet greens and spinach and delicious crunchy pistachios to set that off. They’re tender on the inside and nice and crunchy outside, because they have a little cornmeal in their crust. I grated the beets before I roasted them, which gives them a nice soft/crispy texture and a perfect roasty taste. My golden beets were tiny, so I decided to add some grated carrots to the roasting pan, which went nicely with everything.

Here’s Parliament with Flashlight. Everybody’s got a little light under the sun.


1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 t salt
1 t smoked paprika
1 stick unsalted butter, frozen

Mix the flour, cornmeal, salt and smoked paprika in a large bowl. Grate in the frozen butter and mix with a fork until coarse and crumbly. Add just enough ice water to pull everything together into a workable dough. Knead briefly to make sure everything is incorporated. Wrap in foil and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.


4 or 5 large golden beets with their greens if possible or a mixture of golden beets and carrots
olive oil to coat plus some for the skillet
1 plump garlic clove, minced
2 t rosemary, chopped or crumbled
5 cups fresh spinach, washed, coarse stems removed, roughly chopped
2 T golden raisins, chopped
1/3 cup toasted chopped pistachios
2 cups sharp cheddar or jack cheese
1 egg, beaten, reserve about 1 Tablespoon
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425. Peel the beets and cut off the very top and bottom. Wash the greens and pull the leaves from the stems, chop them quite fine and set aside.

Grate the beets, and spread them evenly on a large baking tray. You should have about 2 cups packed. If you don’t you can supplement with grated carrots, which have a brighter sweetness that goes nicely with the beets. Toss the beets with the herbs and olive oil and spread in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Roast for 25 – 30 minutes until the beets are soft inside and brown and crispy outside. Stir them frequently to be sure that they don’t burn on the edges of the pan The garlic should be soft inside its skin.

Warm some olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two. Add the beet greens, stir and cook until they’re tender but bright, a few minutes. Add the spinach, and stir for a minute or two until it’s wilted.

In a large bowl combine the cooked greens, the roasted beets, the pistachios, the raisins, cheese, pepper and salt. Stir in the egg, reserving one tablespoon.

Break off a piece of dough about the size of a racketball (2 inches across?) Roll into a circle about 1/8th inch thick. Put a big spoonful of filling (about the size of the original lump of dough) slightly off-center on the circle. Fold the dough over into a half-moon shape. Seal the edges, prick the top, and place it on a lightly buttered baking sheet. Seal the edges with the tines of a fork. Repeat until all the dough and filling are used up. Brush each empanda with egg.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the empanadas are firm and golden.


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