I forget now where I first saw a recipe that inspired me to make these delicious pocket sandwiches. This pocket sandwich can be a hand-held lunch (i.e. 'fast food') if needed, once you make up a batch of course. It is not a pie crust, which would be traditional for a 'pastry pie' like the delicious pasties that we are familiar with here in Michigan, but instead it is a very good bread dough surrounding the filling.
Everything is easy to make. The recipe made 6. Two were eaten right away, which means we now have 4 in the freezer, ready to thaw and quickly heat up in the toaster oven for a filling lunch or part of a supper on those days when we don't have time or energy to cook.
This dough was so easy to work with that it could be used with any type of savory filling that is not too wet.
For the dough:
1 cup warm water (~110 degrees is perfect. If you don't have a thermometer, the warm water should not feel hot or cool when dropped on the inside of your wrist.)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I needed to add ~1/2 cup more flour to keep the dough from being sticky - this will be very individualized based on the moisture in your flour and the humidity of the day)
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
2 small sweet potatoes (you want about 1-1/2 cup mashed)
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing at the end
1 small onion
3-4 cloves garlic (or more to taste), peeled and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup French green lentils (pick over), rinse and cook ahead of time in some water, at least get them softened a bit first - brown lentils could be used also and will soften quicker
2 cups water
1/2 bunch kale, remove thick stems, chop (want ~4 cups chopped)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine the warm water and yeast in a small bowl and let sit until yeast dissolves.
Combine the two flours and salt in a mixer bowl with a dough hook.
Add 2 Tbps. olive oil to the flour mixture, followed by the yeast mixture and mix together on low speed until a shaggy dough forms.
Knead for 7-10 minutes (here is where you add more flour as needed) until dough is smooth and springy, not sticky.
Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, 1-2 hours depending on the temperature of your room.
Bake sweet potatoes in oven, microwave, or even in a crockpot the day ahead of time. Cool, peel, and mash, adding a touch of salt. Set aside.
Dice the onion. Warm 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil in a medium saucepan and saute the diced onion and garlic until onion is translucent, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the spices and cook about 1 minute until fragrant.
Add the lentils and water, bring to boil, lower heat and simmer about 10 minutes uncovered. You want the lentils to be soft not mushy but definitely not under-cooked (pre-cooking may help a bit here if using green versus brown lentils).
Add the chopped kale and a bit more salt to the water. Cover and simmer 5-10 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lentil and kale mixture to a clean bowl.
Preheat oven at this point to 450 degrees F.
Divide the dough into 6 pieces and let rest about 20 minutes, loosely wrapped with plastic wrap.
On a well-floured board, roll out a piece of dough into a 8-9 inch oval. Spread about 1/4 cup of the mashed sweet potato over the dough, leaving room at the edges all around to seal the dough when folded in half.
Cover one half of the dough with the lentil-kale mixture, folding the top half of the dough over, pinch, and fold or crimp edges to seal completely. Transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Cut a few slits into the top of the dough. Brush with olive oil.
Repeat with remaining dough and fillings.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until browned. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. To freeze, cool completely before placing pockets into a freezer container. If stacking, place two layers of freezer paper between the individual pockets so they do not freezer to each other.
Photo: Already baked, golden brown - you can still see the slits where the steam can escape while cooking
Photo: Lentil, Sweet Potato, Kale Whole Wheat Pockets
Yum, yum! This will become a 'go-to' recipe for taking many types of left-over bits of food, combining them, wrapping them, and then having them ready to go for our own fast-food. :)
Where kale is more than decoration on my plate. It is in my fast-food hand pie filling, too!
Diana Dyer, MS, RD