Wild Mushroom, Olive & Spinach Empanadas with Harissa Sauce

Jacksonville’s Farmer’s market just started recently and there is a person who makes Empanadas for sale.  This recipe is different than theirs since I don’t add potatoes to the filling.  Be sure to seal these completely or they will oooze out the sides.


  • 1 cup chopped wild mushrooms (or substitute Crimini Mushrooms)
  • ½  yellow onion finely chopped
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 package thawed frozen chopped spinach – drained very well
  • 1 cup chopped pitted calamatta olives
  • ½ cup finely grated Reggiano Parmesan cheese

Cook the mushrooms, onions and garlic in the garlic avocado oil until soft.  Add the olives and spinach and heat through.  Remove from the heat and add the cheese.  Chill until ready to fill and reserve.  (This can be done a day ahead of time.)

Empanada Dough:

  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ cup high quality Olive Oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Sift flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in Olive Oil with your fingertips* or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. (Mixture will look shaggy.)

Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together. Form dough into a flat square and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour.

*To use a food processor add all the dry ingredients and pulse for 3-4 times.  Add the Oil and pulse for 3-4 times.  Add the egg, water and vinegar and pulse 4-5 times until the mixture just comes together.  Then remove from the food processor and roll out and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Then proceed with recipe.

Harissa Sauce

  • 3 Tablespoons of Harissa Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons of Fresh Lemon Juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup Crème Fraiche

Mix all the ingredients together and serve with the hot empanadas.

To assemble:

Roll out the dough until it is ¼ inch thick.  Cut the dough into evenly sized squares.  Brush the edges of the dough with an egg wash.  Place about 1 generous Tablespoon filling in the center.  Fold the dough over and press with a fork along the edges to seal.

Bake the empanadas in a pre-heated 350F oven for 18-20 minutes on a silicone mat or parchment lined baking sheet.  Watch closely since they can burn.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes (you don’t want your guests to burn their mouths when the filling comes out). Serve hot with the Harissa Sauce.


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