I made these empanadas on a whim, in an effort to use up leftover ground pork. I was also short on time, so I substituted frozen puff pastry rather than making traditional empanada dough. The resulting empanadas were not the most beautiful in appearance, but my family raved about them. They liked the flakiness of the puff pastry, and the cream cheese mixed with the pork filling. I guess the old saying is true - necessity is the mother of invention. Or a fridge full of random leftovers is the mother of culinary invention, anyway.These empanadas make great appetizers, and can be shaped and frozen until you are ready to bake them.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: About 16-20 small empanadas
- 1 package frozen puff pastry dough (2 sheets), thawed
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 packet Goya seasoning with annato (achiote)
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 cup beef stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup cream cheese
- 1/4 cup grated cheddar or monterey jack cheese
- 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water
- Prepare the filling: Place a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a medium skillet and cook the onion and garlic over medium heat until soft and fragrant.
- Add the ground pork, 1 packet of Goya seasoning, and cumin to the pork and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until pork is well browned.
- Add the beef broth and simmer pork over low heat for several minutes, until most of the excess liquid has evaporated and the pork is thoroughly cooked.
- Remove from heat and stir in the cream cheese and grated cheddar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place one sheet of puff pastry on floured surface, and sprinkle with flour. Roll it out to a slightly larger size, about 12 by 18 inches (sheets are 10 x 15 inches straight from the box).
- Using a sharp round cutter (like a large biscuit cutter), cut about 8 rounds of dough, 3-4 inches in diameter.
- Place about 1 tablespoon of filling in each round. Dip a finger in water and run your finger around the edge of the circle of dough, then fold the dough in half to form a half moon shape over the filling. Seal edges firmly. Fold sealed edge over on itself and crimp to secure the seal.
- Place empanadas on a greased cookie sheet (or line cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper). Mix egg with one tablespoon of water and brush egg wash lightly over the empanadas, then place them in the oven to bake. Bake empanadas until they are puffy and golden brown, about 15 minutes.
- Shape second batch of empanadas from the other sheet of pastry dough while the first ones are baking. If you have have extra scraps of dough, stack them on top of one another, roll out flat, and cut more circles of dough.
- Empanadas can be filled and shaped, and then frozen until ready to bake. Remove from freezer, brush with egg wash, and place straight into the oven to bake.