Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sweet Potato Black Bean Pocket Pies

I've been away for a while.  I had a temporary spell of single parenting accompanied by sickness, travel, more travel, and lots of snot rag laundry.  I quickly learned that my free time was best spent sleeping.

It's times like these, through sickness, temporary single parenting, general busyness or particularly fussy eating habits on the part of my toddler that I am most grateful for my crazy freezer food hoarding.  When I feel particularly inspired to cook the weekend away, I make extra and freeze those wonderful leftovers.

One of the best freezer foods?  Empanadas, turnovers, pierogies, samosas, dumplings, or as I like to call them, pocket pies because I think it sounds cute and, if you don't mind a linty meal, they will easily fit in your pocket for transport.  They freeze and reheat wonderfully, are reminiscent of one of my favorite childhood foods(Hot Pockets) and my daughter loves them.

After a 2.5 hour flight, bag collecting, car finding and 1.5 hour drive home, I pulled one of these little pies out of the freezer and had dinner ready in no time for my road weary toddler.  She ate two.  And some rice cakes.  But not milk, it was a week old.

I came across the original idea for this recipe here.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Pocket Pies

Yield: 16 Pies

1 ½ cups of White Whole Wheat Flour
½ cup Milled Flax Seed
¾ teaspoon Salt
10 Tablespoons (5 ounces) Pastured Butter, chilled
¼ cup Very Cold Water

1 tablespoon Cumin Seeds
1 tablespoon Chili Powder 
¼ teaspoon Ancho Chili Powder
2 pounds Roasted Sweet Potatoes, peeled and mashed
2 cups Cooked Black Beans, rinsed and drained
2/3 cup Chopped Green Onions, white and light green section of onion only
4 tablespoons Chopped Fresh Cilantro, or just a big handful 
1 teaspoon lime zest
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt, or to taste 

1 Egg, lightly beaten with about a tablespoon of water 

Preheat oven to 400°.

For the Pastry:
1. Sift flour, flax seed and salt together in a large bowl.  
2. Cut butter into flour using a pastry cutter or your hands.  Work quickly to avoid melting the butter.
3. Add water, a sprinkle at a time, just until dough will hold together.  
4. Form the dough quickly and gently into a ball.
5. Refrigerate dough for at least ½ hour or up to one day.

For the Filling:

1. Cook the cumin seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat for 1 minute or until toasted and fragrant, stirring constantly.  Add chili powders and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Remove from heat and let mixture cool slightly until you can handle it comfortably.  
2. Place cumin and chili in a clean spice or coffee grinder and process until finely ground. 
3. Combine spices, sweet potatoes, beans, onions, cilantro, lime juice and zest in a large bowl.  Combine with rubber spatula until mixture is quite uniform.  Add salt.
4. Remove dough from the refrigerator.  Portion into 16 equal pieces by forming ball into a log, cut in half and then cut each half into eighths. 
5. Roll each dough portion into a disc about 5 inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick (a tortilla press works well for this step if you're a fan of gadgets.  If not, use a rolling pin).    

6. Fill each dough circle with about two tablespoons of prepared filling.  Brush the inside edge of circle with egg wash, fold dough over to form semi circle and crimp edges with a crimper or fork.  Brush top of finished pie with egg wash for nice browning.  Continue this process until you use all the filling and dough. 
7. Place pies on a large baking sheet. Cut a few small slits on the top of each pie to allow steam to escape.  Bake at 400° for about 30 minutes, rotate baking sheet and bake for 10 more minutes, or until nicely browned.
8. Enjoy as is for an on-the-go meal or with a nice salad for a sit down lunch or dinner.  


To freeze, place fully cooked and cooled pies in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Freeze for about one hour on sheet and then move pies into your favorite style freezer bag and label.  They should keep for six months in a standard fridge/freezer setup or one year in a chest freezer.  

P.S. With the left over pie crust dough, I made mini peach pies, which were really just previously frozen peach slices enveloped in pastry.  

Shared at April's Homemaking Meal Planning Monday Recipe Link-up.


  1. These look really good - I want to make them the next time I get out my rolling pin!

    Also a little jealous of the tortilla press

    1. Thanks! The tortilla press is multi-functional. I've used it for both corn and whole wheat tortillas and little pies, as noted. I want to use it to make crackers too and see how it works the next time I make pita bread. In other words, go get one!

  2. Thank you for sharing this recipe on Meal Planning Monday Recipe Link-Up. :) These pockets sound like a yummy meal! I hope you stop by and join us again this week!