Monday, March 3, 2014

Beef & Sweet Potato Pockets

This is another recipe from the Feed Zone Portables cookbook, and it was even better than I thought it would be! I changed the recipe a bit by making a 100% whole wheat pastry crust, instead of traditional white flour crust. Next time, I think I will use just partial whole wheat flour because it made the dough really dense and hard to roll thin enough.  And honestly, the filling was so good on its own that I may skip the crust altogether in the future, which would make this a really fast and easy dinner. Preparing the dough and rolling it out for the individual pockets took a good amount of time. I made this crust with butter because it seems that our son has outgrown his dairy allergy, which is awesome! But if you are looking for a dairy-free whole wheat pastry crust, click here. If you were to use these pockets for high intensity endurance exercise/activity, as the original recipe is intended for, using white flour and white rice would be a better option to have less fiber and a more quickly-broken-down source of carbohydrate.

I served these with some steamed broccoli, but they would be good with any green vegetable!

Beef & Sweet Potato Pockets


Pie Crust:
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup cold water

8 oz grass-fed ground beef
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed (~1 cup)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups organic brown rice, cooked
~3 cups organic chicken stock (for cooking rice, instead of using water)


1. To make the pie crust: Pulse together flour, salt and cinnamon in a food processor. Add butter and blend until butter pieces are no longer visible. Transfer mixture to large bowl and add cold water gradually, using hands or spatula to turn the dough and mix. Add more water or flour, as necessary, until dough takes shape. Divide dough into 12 portions, forming into balls.  Wrap dough and chill (30 minutes in the freezer, or at least one hour in the refrigerator.

2. To make filling: Cook ground beef over medium-high heat until browned. Drain excess fat. Cooked cubed sweet potato in microwave until tender, about 3-5 minutes.  Combine beef and sweet potatoes in a bowl and add soy sauce, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, kosher salt, and cinnamon.  Mix until evenly combined and then fold in rice.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat muffin tin with canola oil.

4. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out each ball of dough, on a lightly floured surface, until it is big enough to fit in the form and fold back over the filling. Transfer dough to muffin forms, gently pressing into place and letting excess dough hang over edges. Place enough of the filling mixture into the dough pocket to be level with the top of the muffin tin. Fold excess dough over filling and gently press together to form a seal.

5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until crust turns golden

(Recipe adapted from Feed Zone Portables: A Cookbook of On-The-Go Food for Athletes by Biju Thomas & Allen Lim)

What are the nutritional benefits of this meal? Whole wheat flour is less refined than all purpose flour so provides more fiber and nutrients, particularly B vitamins, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, and iron. Compared with conventional beef, grass-fed beef is lower in total fat, higher in omega-3 fatty acids and higher in vitamins, particularly vitamin E. Brown rice is unrefined, so contains it's original abundance of iron, zinc, manganese, selenium, antioxidants and fiber. Sweet potatoes are very high in vitamin A (one cup provides over 400% of the daily value!) and are a great source of vitamins C and B6, and the mineral manganese. Broccoli is packed with vitamins C and K, and is also a good source of folate and calcium. 

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