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Rethink Your Hamburger

Chorizo Empanadas

According to legend, empanadas originated in the Middle East and were introduced to the New World by the Spanish. Since then, the empanada has become Latin America’s answer to the hamburger, and you can find them filled with all sorts of delicious ingredients. Chorizo, for example, has a great smoky flavor. I like to use natural chorizo without any additives, dyes, preservatives, sulfates or sulfites. It also tends to be less salty than traditional chorizo. Ready-made empanada dough can be found at Latin markets in the freezer section, or you can use three defrosted puff pastry sheets instead, but it will change the texture of the empanada.

I like to make these and freeze them to keep at hand for whenever I have guests. They also make a great appetizer for entertaining, especially if you make them bite-sized. Just cut out the circle shapes using a smaller cookie cutter and use less filling in each one. Reduce the baking time by 5 to 10 minutes. Buen provecho!

Chorizo Empanadas

Makes 20 empanadas

20 defrosted empanada dough discs (from about 2 10-ounce packages)
2 large eggs
12 ounces raw chorizo sausages, casings removed
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup golden raisins
All-purpose flour for rolling
1 large egg white
Pinch of salt
Aji sauce for serving

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Place the whole eggs in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pan, and turn off the heat. Let the eggs sit for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside to cool completely. When they are cool, peel and chop the eggs. Set aside.
  3. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the chorizo and the onion (you don’t need any additional oil; the chorizo releases enough to fry the onions) and cook until the onions are softened, about 2 minutes. Add the raisins, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the chorizo is cooked through, about 5 minutes. (break the chorizo into small bits with a wooden spoon as it cooks).
  4. Whisk the egg white with 1/2 teaspoon of water and the salt in a small bowl and set aside. Brush the edges of the dough discs with a little egg wash. Place a spoonful of the chorizo filling and a few pieces of the hard boiled egg on each dough circle. Fold the other end of the dough over and firmly press the edges together and then crimp to seal. Arrange the empanadas on the baking sheet and brush with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with the aji salsa.

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