Potato, Leek, and Mushroom Filling

Recently, I was fondly remembering some potato & mushroom empanadas I made about a year and a half ago for our friend Elizabeth’s going away party when she left Kalamazoo for Utah. Debbie and I catered the party, and I would immodestly say that our food was a great success. The mojitos on hand and the gin and tonics being mixed by a well-regarded K College anthropology professor upstairs from the gathering probably didn’t hurt either. It was a good party.

Well, what do you know? I’m making a potato & mushroom dish wrapped in pastry again and Elizabeth has forsaken Mormonland for Kalamazoo. Plus sa change, plus c’est la meme chose. I should really write that in Latin or Ancient Greek, since she’s a classicist, but AltaVista’s Babel Fish doesn’t have an automatic Latin or Ancient Greek translation. Liz, I hope you get a coming-back party half as good as your going-away party was.

The last time I made something like this, I fried them. This time I used a dough that didn’t require frying – and it didn’t come out as well as it should have, so I’m not going to bother with putting it up here yet, as it needs too much work. However, I will put up this filling, and when I get home and have access to the recipes on my home computer, I’ll put up the empanada dough that you have to fry, which I cribbed from Martha Stewart. A pie crust would also be a fine wrapping for this filling, and it would not require frying. Or you could just eat the filling by itself, no harm, no foul.


1 lb. new potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into ½ in. pieces
2 T. canola oil (plus more for the pan)
4 leeks, white and slightly green parts, chopped into very narrow slices
(To clean leeks, slice the trimmed leeks lengthwise, hold them together, and run them under cold water until all the grit is gone.)
1 dry pint mushrooms, cleaned and chopped into ¼ in pieces, stems included
½ t. paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350. Toss the chopped potatoes with the 2 T. of canola oil in an 8×8 baking pan and season them with salt. Place in the oven and roast until tender but not browned, about half an hour. Remove from the oven, place in a large mixing bowl, and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, toss in the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until they lose most of their volume and begin to brown, 15-20 minutes. Remove the leeks from the pan and place them in the mixing bowl with the onions. Add the mushrooms and a little oil to the empty pan and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have given up their moisture and it has evaporated. They’ll also be substantially reduced in volume – the whole process should take about 10 minutes. Turn the mushrooms into the bowl with the potatoes and leeks. Add ½ t. paprika plus salt and pepper to taste, and mix well.

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