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For our "Bring a Friend" episode, Richard Blais introduced Rach to chef Pyet DeSpain, the first season winner of Fox's "Next Level Chef." Pyet cooks food that is very personal to her, combining her Mexican and Native American heritage to create dishes such as these Rach-approved bison and sweet potato empanadas, which are delicious on their own, but even better with her Pepita Salsa. She's dedicated to highlighting Indigenous culture through food and storytelling, whether that be via pop-up restaurants, her upcoming cookbook or guest chef appearances. She's off to a great start, and we can't wait to see what she does next! 

For more Mexican-inspired dishes, check out Rach's Creamed Mushroom and Spinach Quesadillas and Chile Verde Tacos


For the Pastry Dough:
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, diced into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup ice water
For the Filling:
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • ¾ pound ground bison
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
  • ½ cup small dice white onions
  • ½ cup small dice sweet potatoes
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
To Assemble:
  • 1 egg, whisked, for egg wash


Serves: 6


For the pastry dough, pulse the flour, salt and baking powder in a food processor (or sift into a bowl).  

Add the butter and pulse until the butter and flour are the texture of coarsely ground cornmeal (or use a pastry cutter or your fingers to cut the butter into the flour in the bowl). 

Whisk together the egg and the water. With the processor running, slowly stream in the egg mixture until the dough comes together.  

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead a few times just until it comes together. Flatten into a round disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Put it in the fridge to rest while you make the filling.  

For the filling, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add the ground bison, thyme and oregano and sauté until just cooked through (the meat is very lean, so be careful to not overcook it). Set aside in a large bowl.  

In the same pan, add the onions and sweet potatoes, season with the cumin, salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes, then transfer to the bowl with the meat and stir together.  

Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

To assemble the empanadas, remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut into 12 even pieces. Roll each piece into a 5- to 6-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Fill with 2 ½ tablespoons of the filling, fold in half and seal using the tines of a fork to crimp the edges. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or spray with cooking spray). 

Brush each empanada with some egg wash and bake for 15 to 20 minutes OR until golden brown.