Thursday, March 28, 2013

Homemade Chorizo Empanadas

On a recent trip to Northern California, my husband and I enjoyed a nice quiet dinner together at a newly opened tapas restaurant.  Personally, I could eat tapas for every meal.  I love that it's small plates and all shareable, my favorite way to have a meal.  Typically, we tend to order something wrapped in bacon, prawns in any kind of sauce, seafood paella and always something with chorizo in it.  On this particular menu they had empanadas stuffed with chorizo baked in a puff pastry.  This was a must have!  The wonderful spicy flavor of the chorizo and the flakiness of the puff pastry were a perfect combo.  Immediately I knew I had to recreate this at home.  I mean, how genius to make empanadas with puff pastry!  The filling I created on my own mixing in some veggies and of course, cheese.  These little bites of amazingness will be perfect for any upcoming party or get together.  They go quick so you may want to double the recipe.  Enjoy!

Homemade Chorizo Empanadas

1 - 12 ounce package pork, beef, or soy chorizo, removed from casing (I used pork)
1 cup bell peppers, diced (I mixed red, yellow and orange)
3/4 cup sweet yellow onion, diced
3/4 cup shredded  monterey jack cheese
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed  
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus some to brush pastry
Small bowl of water, room temperature
Flour to roll out pastry

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large skillet heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, bell peppers and garlic.  Cook for about 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally until the vegetables have softened a bit.  Add the chorizo to the the vegetables.  Using a spatula, break up the chorizo link and cook for 5-7 minutes until completely cooked through.  Remove the skillet from the heat and allow to cool completely.  

When chorizo mixture is cool transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the cheese.  Mix well to combine and set aside.

Place the puff pastry on a slightly floured surface.  Sprinkle flour on the top of the pastry. Roll out the pastry until about 1/16 inch thick.  Using a 4 inch round cookie cutter (or a 4 inch round bowl or ramekin) cut circles out of the pastry.  

Place 1 table spoon of the chorizo mixture in the center of the pastry.  Moisten the edges with the room temperature water and fold the pastry in half making a half circle.  Gently pinch the ends together.  Using a fork press down on the edges sealing the empanada together.  Repeat these steps until all the pastry is used.

Place the empanadas on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Lightly brush the empanadas with olive oil and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.  Serve with your favorite salsa.  

Makes 22-25 empanades.

Note:  Leftover chorizo mix can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Use in scrabbled eggs or tacos.