cheesy pumpkin and thyme quesadillas

i made vast quantities of empanadas for our latino party. i used the smitten kitchen recipe for empanada pastry which was, as deb says, very easy to work with. it’s an interesting pastry as it contains vinegar, which i’ve not come across before, and which is slightly confusing as you smell hints of it when working with the pastry. it’s also a deliciously light and flaky pastry which would, i think, be good for lots of pasty recipes.

i made two fillings. one was deb’s chicken olive and chorizo mix, the other a cheese and pumpkin combination. both worked really well but, as my pumpkin was huge (a wonderfully textured and flavoured crown prince – if you find orange pumpkins bland and watery give this grey-green variety a try) i had lots leftover which we used to make quesadillas with.

this was my first foray into the world of quesadillas and i was surprised how easy it was and how filling they were – two each and both david and i were full. we also found the leftover chilli sweetcorn and courgette bake to be a good quesadilla filling. 

cheesy pumpkin and thyme quesadillas (c8)

500g pumpkin, butternut squash or sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into rough chunks

olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 green chilli, deseeded and finely diced

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 heaped teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons chopped coriander (leaves and stems)

150g feta cheese, finely crumbled or grated

150g mozzarella, finely chopped or grated

1 heaped teaspoon chipotle salsa (optional, i used one from the cool chile company)


preheat the oven to 200c. toss the pumpkin with a little olive oil and roast until tender. let it cool and then mash it roughly.

fry the onion, garlic and chilli until it begins to soften. add the paprika and cook for another few minutes. mix the cooked onions with the mashed pumpkin, herbs, cheeses and salsa.  season to taste.

spread the pumpkin on one half of the tortilla the fold it over to make a half-circle shape. brush it with a little olive oil (so the tortilla doesn’t stick to the pan) and place in hot, dry frying pan or griddle. cook until golden and crisp.

cut into wedges and serve with salsa, sour cream and salad.

notes: the pumpkin mix will keep in the fridge for c5 days. it is great as an empanada filling.