Pepper Pockets 4.000

Anders Schonnemann for Kyel Books

Book Report May 11, 2011

These tidy pockets are good options for picnics and lunch at your desk.

Make Ahead: The pockets taste best when served the same day they are made, but they can be assembled a day in advance and refrigerated. If desired, reheat on an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet at 350 degrees until warmed through.

Servings: 4
  • For the filling
  • 2 medium red bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 7 ounces spinach (stemmed as needed)
  • 9-ounce block Emmenthal cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives, drained and chopped
  • For the tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour, plus more for the work surface
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 cup boiling water, plus cold water for sealing the pockets
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus more for brushing


For the filling: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Place the whole peppers on the baking sheet and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the skins start to blacken. Transfer the charred peppers to a resealable plastic food storage freezer bag. Seal and freeze for 5 minutes; this will help loosen their skins.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach and stir-fry for 2 or 3 minutes, until wilted. Use tongs to transfer the spinach to a colander set in the sink; press on the spinach to extract as much moisture as possible. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Carefully remove the peppers from the freezer bag; they might still be hot. Discard the skin and seeds, then cut the remaining flesh into 1-inch slices and add to the spinach, along with the cheese and olives, stirring to incorporate. Season with the black pepper to taste.

For the tortillas: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have a baking sheet at hand. Lightly flour a work surface.

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl with the pinch of sea salt. Add the water and oil, mixing with your hands to form a soft dough.

Transfer to the work surface and knead for 2 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Brush the top of the dough lightly with oil, then return the dough to the bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Divide the rested dough into 8 equal pieces and roll into small balls in your hands. Working with one ball of dough at a time, use a rolling pin to roll out each ball on the work surface into a round tortilla about 9 inches across, giving the dough a quarter-turn with each roll to make sure the round comes out fairly even. To save space, stack the tortillas between pieces of waxed paper as you work.

Lay out a few tortillas at a time. Spoon some of the spinach mixture onto the center of each one (making sure you have equal amounts for all 8 pockets). Use a clean finger or a pastry brush to moisten the edges of each tortilla with water, then fold in 4 sides tightly over the filling to create rectangular pockets (they will look like overstuffed blintzes).

Heat a large (dry) grill pan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Place the pockets on the pan, seam sides down; working in batches as needed, cook for 2 minutes on each side to create a crisp, slightly browned crust. Then transfer to the baking sheet, seam sides down; bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden.

Let the pockets stand for 2 minutes before serving, or cool completely before storing.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Take Five Ingredients: 95 Delicious Dishes Using Just 5 Ingredients," by James Tanner (Kyle, 2011).

Tested by Becky Krystal.

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