When I entertain I like to have a wide variety of foods available to snack on. It keeps things from getting boring and it keeps the palate active.
So, when I plan a party of a gathering where little bites will be served I always make something with a Tex-Mex flair. These empanadas are the perfect party food because they are easy to eat, they are filling, they look pretty on a platter, and they taste fantastic!
The filling is not too spicy, making it good for guests who dislike spicy foods. The cheese cools any fire created by the jalapenos and Ro*tel tomatoes. The beef to cheese ratio is just right here, too. There is just enough cheese to add some flavor, but not so much it is gloppy and greasy. If you are looking for something fun to feed a crowd this is the perfect bite!
Beef Empanadas Yield 38
For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup lard, or vegetable shortening
3/4 cup warm milk
1 egg, beaten
For the filling:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper
1/4 cup drained Ro*tel tomatoes
4 ounces lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup finely shredded colby-jack cheese
In a medium bowl combine the flour, cheese, salt, and baking powder until well mixed. Add the lard and, with your fingers, work the mixture until the lard is well distributed and no pieces remain.
Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the warm milk. Stir until the mixture forms a ball. You may need to add additional flour if the mixture is too sticky. Cover and allow to rest while you prepare the filling.
In a skillet over medium heat add the oil. Once it begins to shimmer add the onions and cook until they begin to soften, about three minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook for another minute, or until fragrant.
Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat, until it browns. Add the drained tomatoes, spices, and cornstarch and cook for one minute before removing the pan from the heat. Allow to cool for five minutes before adding the shredded cheese.
Heat the oven to 375 F and prepare two sheet pans with parchment paper.
Divide the dough into four pieces, and on a floured surface roll it out until it is very thin (about 1/8 inch thick). Cut out 3″ circles of dough.
Brush the top edge of the dough with egg wash then add a teaspoon of the meat filling. Fold the dough over and press to seal. Crimp the edges with a form. Repeat until you have filled the first pan. Brush the tops with egg wash then bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until puffed and lightly golden.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.
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