I always like to have an array of foods for my guests. Different flavors for varying palates, a selection of textures to feast on and an assorted presentation for the eyes to gaze on while grazing. I mean come on, soft music in the background, overheard bits of neighborhood gossip coming from the corners and the gulps of flowing booze makes for a great party but hey, it’s the food that really matters, right. And as long as everyone is grazing, as we call it down here, then everyone’s having a good time.
Today’s recipe is another favorite, meat filled pockets with a Mexican flair makes an outstanding addition to the table. The best part is they can be made weeks ahead, frozen and baked just before serving. Enjoy!
Cheesy Beef Empanadas
makes about 6 dozen
Cream Cheese Pastry
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 packages (12 oz total) cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups all purpose flour
2 egg yolks
4 teaspoons cold milk
Cheesy Meat Filling
1 pound lean ground beef (chicken or turkey works fine)
1 -1.5 oz package spaghetti sauce mix
1/4 cup minced onion
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
Salt to taste
Mexican seasoning if desired
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Prepare the pastry dough the day before making. Mix butter, cream cheese, salt and flour to form a soft dough. The egg yolks and milk will be used when baking. Chill dough overnight wrapped in wax paper. When ready to prepare and after filling has cooled, break off part of the dough and roll it out paper-thin on a floured surface. Keep remaining dough chilled in the refrigerator. Use a 2 or 3 inch round cookie cutter and cut out the dough. Place a small amount of filling on one side of the round, fold over and crimp edges with fork tines. Continue rolling out dough and making the empanadas. The unbaked pastries may be frozen at this time. When ready to bake, slightly thaw and brush the tops with the wash using the egg yolks and milk. Bake in a 350 degree F. oven for about 20 minutes if completely thawed or a bit longer if partially frozen.
To make the filling, brown the beef in a skillet, drain off any fat and stir in the next 5 ingredients. I sometimes add Mexican seasoning for added flavor. Simmer on low for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the two cheeses. Let cool before filling the empanadas.