A Secret Recipe for Parties!
Empanaditas de Chorizo
I am a BIG fan of pies, in all shapes and forms, not many escape my greedy clutches, and my top favourites are Shaker Lemon Pie, Cheese, Onion and Potato Pasties, Cornish Pasties, Farmhouse Egg and Bacon Pie and Heirloom Apple or Fruit Tart. But, outside the European stable of pies, there are some exciting and spicy little numbers, Latin in origin and spicy in flavour, these wee bite-sized pies are very popular in the Lavender and Lovage household and are very easy to make…..Empanaditas……little half-moon pasties filled with spicy meats and cheese, as well as vegetables and spices. Originally hailing from Portugal and Spain, these pies are now also very popular in South America, Mexico and Panama.
So, when I was perusing all the wonderful recipes over on my secretly assigned blog for August, as soon as I saw there was a recipe for Empanaditas de Chorizo (Chorizo Empanadas), I knew that was the recipe I was making for this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment! My “secret blog” was one I know well, Tara’s Multicultural Table; Tara features mostly fresh and all-natural recipes from around the world. She is a 27-year-old stay at home mom, currently live in Northern Virginia with her husband, 3-year-old son, and 3 month old daughter. She also enjoys scrap-booking, reading, dance, and travel……hence, lots of her recipes have a “global” feel to them. I LOVE her site and picking JUST one recipe to make was a tall order!
Other recipes that caught my eye over on Tara’s site were: Chinese-Style Pork Adobo; Muhammara (Syrian Red Pepper and Walnut Dip); Crisp Toasted Bagel with Fromage Blanc, Tomato, Sea Salt, and Basil, Domates Salatası (Turkish Tomato Salad) and Strawberry Waffles. But it was my greedy desire for pies that won me over in the end, and so a batch of Empanaditas de Chorizo were made, from a book Tara reviewed called The Cuban Table Cookbook. The recipe is more complex than I usually use when I make these little pies, as you make the pastry which has wine in it, which sounded lovely; however, I didn’t have time to make the pastry on this occasion, so I used ready-made puff pastry with great results.
I DID however fill the pies with the suggested filling of chorizo with onions,peppers and potatoes. I served these as part of a cocktail party with glasses of chilled Fino Sherry and green olives, and sprinkled hot paprika pepper over them before serving for an extra spicy kick. The recipe I have share below is based on the recipe on Tara’s blog, but with regional and seasonal amendments. DO try these out, and if you want to make the pastry dough, then pop over to see how Tara made it here: Empanaditas de Chorizo Dough. You can vary the fillings to suit, but the combination below worked extremely well.
Empanaditas de Chorizo (Chorizo Empanadas)
Adapted from The Cuban Table: A Celebration of Food, Flavors, and History & Tara’s Multicultural Table
350g read-made puff pastry
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
350g Spanish Chorizo, casings removed and finely diced
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 small green pepper, trimmed and diced
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large tomato, skinned and diced
60mls dry white wine
1 bay leaf
225g potatoes, peeled and cubed into small pieces
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, leaves and tender stems, finely chopped
Vegetable or rapseed oil for deep-frying
1. To prepare the filling: In a heavy frying pan or skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced chorizo and cook until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the onion, green pepper, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Continue to cook until the onion is softened and translucent. Mix in the tomatoes, white wine, and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a simmer and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and continue to cook until the potatoes are fork tender and the liquid has evaporated, 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh parsley. Season to taste and allow to cool to room temperature.
2. Roll the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 9×12 inch rectangle. Use a 4 inch round biscuit cutter or glass to cut out 6 circles. If not immediately ready to use, place the circles on a parchment lined baking sheet in single layers separated by more parchment. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
3. Put a circle of dough in the palm of your hand and place a heaping tablespoon of chorizo filling in the centre. Fold the dough over to enclose the filling and form a half-moon. Lightly brush the edge with water before using a fork to press the edges to seal. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
4. Pour the oil into a large wok, frying pan or deep fryer. It should be deep enough to submerge the empanaditas. Heat to 180C. Fry the empanaditas in batches, being careful not to overcrowd, until golden on each side, 3-4 minutes total. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining empanaditas. Serve warm.