Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chorizo-Pepper Empanadas

Feliz Cinco de Mayo, mis amigos! I have to work this evening, so Dane and I celebrated this festive occasion last night. Can't let a little thing like work keep me from enjoying some good Mexican food and a cold Corona. :)

My favorite magazine subscription is to Better Homes and Gardens, and when I flipped through the food section and saw this recipe I immediately ripped it out and put it on the menu for this week. It's not traditional by any means - I'm sure puff pastry is not something you'll easily find in Mexico, after all - but it is a fantastic twist on an old idea. These little hand pies are simply scrumptious, and would make a perfect appetizer for a Mexican-themed party since they're just irresistibly pop-able. For Dane and I though, we just ate a few with some chips and fresh salsa on the side, and they made a great meal! The puff pastry provides a wonderful, flaky crust that just melts in your mouth, while the filling is amazingly flavorful and complex, with a lovely little kick. Mexican chorizo can be overwhelming if not paired well, but cooking it down with other flavors really mellows it out and brings out its flavor without going overboard. We have a little bit of the filling left over, and I'm definitely seeing some breakfast burritos in our future, too.

Give this a try and you'll see why... I'll definitely be making these again!

Chorizo-Pepper Empanadas
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine (May 2011)
yields about 24 empanadas

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet yellow pepper, seeded and finely chopped
10 oz uncooked Mexican chorizo
1 cup chopped tomato, fresh or canned
2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
8 oz grated queso fresco
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon milk

Optional Ingredients for Garnish: sour cream, fresh salsa, cilantro, lime wedges

1. For the filling, heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic, and sweet pepper. Cook 7 minutes or so, until tender, stirring occasionally. Add chorizo, and cook 5 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking up sausage and stirring occasionally. Drain fat.
2. Return to heat and add tomato, oregano, and cumin. Simmer, uncovered, 5 to 8 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Let cool. Add the queso fresco and stir to combine.
3. Preheat oven to 400F. On a floured surface and with a floured rolling pin, roll puff pastry to about 1/8 inch thickness. With a 3 1/2 inch round cookie cutter (an average drinking glass will suffice also, haha), cut as many circles out the dough as possible. Reroll and repeat as desired.
4. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filling into each circle. Combine the beaten egg with milk, and brush over half the edge of each circle. Fold each circle over to enclose the filling, and pinch edges to seal. Brush tops with egg wash. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake 12-16 minutes, until golden brown.


  1. Good job on the empanadas. That looks wonderful.

  2. Uh, yeah, pass the plate please!

  3. Yum empanadas are my favorite. I like making them with puff pastry too (how can you go wrong with that buttery goodness). But- if you have an ethnic market near you Goya makes empanada wrappers you can try next time too.

  4. YUM, those look fantastic! Such a great little empanada. Thank you so much for sharing

  5. Lindselicious, thanks for the tip! I didn't realize there were such things as empanada wrappers... I guess I always assumed it was with tortillas or pie crust. But I loved the puff pastry too. :)

  6. These sound amazing! But then again...everything with Chorizo sounds fabulous to me!


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