It’s going to be 25 degrees this weekend up here in Fairbanks. That’s BBQ weather! Well, we won’t attempt it, but I can guarantee some of our more adventurous neighbors will. When the temperature rises above 20 degrees, the layers come off, and the people head outdoors. It’s the Alaska equivalent to sandal weather, I guess you could say.
All of this BBQ talk, and the promise of warmer weather this summer has me longing for a weekend in Santa Fe, my all time favorite US city.
Where the vast sprawling desert meets the towering Southern Rockies, there’s the mile high Capitol city that’s calling to me. Santa Fe: flamboyant vistas, racous thunderstorms, and fragrant piñon wafting in the air; it’s all part of the complex, magnetic landscape that draws me in. No other city has a pull on me like Santa Fe.
Since travel from Fairbanks, AK to Santa Fe, NM is about a trillion dollars, I’ll have to get creative about how I satisfy my wanderlust. I can either George O’Keefe all over a canvas, or (more attainably) emulate some of the culinary masterpieces I’ve sampled in the Southwest.
Of course I chose the latter.
This recipe uses ingredients I almost always have on hand, making it remarkably easy to prepare. The process unfolds into three areas: prep, roast, and bake. When you approach this recipe with this in mind, it goes quickly.
This recipe is adapted from Pam Anderson’s wonderful cookbook Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals. I’ve tried most of the recipes in this book and none of them disappoint. Cookbooks that teach technique instead listing regimented recipes are much more rewarding to have around. The flexibility afforded in this style cookbook has made me a much greater cook. I highly recommend picking up a copy (and I’m not being paid to say that!).
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into ½" pieces
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- red chili pepper flakes to taste
- 1 can black beans, rinsed
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 2 heaping cups sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 2 Store bought Pie Crusts
- Preheat oven to 450F
- Dice sweet potato, onions, bell pepper, and add to large mixing bowl. Add minced garlic, olive oil and seasonings. Toss to coat evenly.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and spread out vegetable mixture over each of them in one layer.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tender, turning over halfway through to allow even roasting.
- Remove from oven, return vegetables to mixing bowl, add black beans, cilantro and cheddar, reserving a small handful of cheese to top the galettes later. Mix well.
- On two separate sheets of fresh parchment paper (away from the warm baking sheets), unroll your pie crusts.
- Drop filling into center of pie crusts, leaving 1-2 inches around the edge to allow for folding.
- Start at the top of the pie crust, fold up over the ingredients and pinch the dough to hold it in place. Continue this process every 1-2 inches around the crust to enclose the pastry.
- Top the pastry with cheddar.
- Move pastries onto cooled baking sheets.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown, and the cheese is bubbly.
This is a vegetarian meal, but you may add a little spicy sausage if you desire. Just be sure to drain excess fat that may prevent the crust from flaking during baking.
For a creamier base, add ½ to 1 cup of cream cheese, fontina or goat cheese.