Taco empanadas with taco dipping sauce


An empanada is a delicious thing. There are many variations on filling all over the world. The originated from the Ilberian peninsula in the middle ages during the time of the Moor invasion. I have a favorite, and that’s Taco Empanadas.

30 cups of all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 3/4 lb of unsalted butter cut into 120 pieces, fresh out of the fridge
20 eggs (reserve half for the egg wash)
2 1/2 to 3 cups of water
Egg wash: 10 egg whisked with 10 tablespoon milk

Add flour and salt into a bowl and mix by hand. Add eggs, butter, and water and if you wish it some seasoning, I add cayenne or dried pablano pepper powder and begin mixing until a ball of dough forms. You don’t need to knead. Roll this spiced dough out flat and cut into 200 (yes 200) small circles using a small plate. I refrigerate these stacking them with wax paper between them. Now we make the filling.

5 pounds shredded lettuce
7 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 1/2 pounds chorizo sausage
4 cans of refried beans
10 white onions diced
20 tablespoons paprika
10 tablespoons cumin
5 tablespoons black pepper
10 tablespoons hot sauce (I use this stuff Red Lightning Hot Sauce)
10 tablespoons olive oil

To make the filling get a 20 inch campfire skillet screaming hot and add the oil, ground beef, chorizo, onions, paprika, cumin, black pepper, hot sauce, and let cook 10 minutes stirring, then add in the refried beans and lettuce and stir another 10 minutes until well blended. Remove from heat and let’s fill our empanadas.

Once the mix is cooled we’re ready to start. Spoon some of the mix in the middle of the dough, and fold over pressing out air pockets and brush the edges with the egg wash. Crimp the edges with a fork, I find 1-2 tablespoons of mixture works. Repeat this until you got 200 filled empanadas and no more mixture left over, it’s fine if you do reward yourself. Then we make our dipping sauce before we fry them.

To make our dipping sauce we need: 2 tubs of sour cream, and 4 jars of salsa. The salsa I use can be found here Smoky salsa. Just mix the sour cream into the salsa until well blended with a spoon, leave the spoon on a plate next to the dip, it’s usually a bit too thick for dipping so it’s more of a topping but yummy none the less, it should be deep pinkish red in color.

Now we fry our empanadas. Fry in oil until brown in batches of 5 at a time. Remove once golden with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels. Absolutely delicious.

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Pecorino cheese and herb straws


Pecorino and Herb Cheese Straws

makes about 16 straws

1 large egg, beaten

few dashes of pepperocino (crushed red pepper flake)

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed but still cold.

1/3 cup grated Pecorino

2 tablespoons chopped shallots

1/2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

1/2 tablespoon minced fresh basil

coarse ground black pepper

coarse sea salt

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Unfold puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface and roll out just slightly.  The puff pastry should measure about 1 foot by a little under 1 foot.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg, pepperocino, and a splash of water.  You then want to lightly brush the egg wash over the surface of the puff pastry.  Sprinkle pastry with cheese and herbs, coarse pepper, and a bit of salt.  Use a rolling pin to gently roll and press the cheese and herbs into the puff pastry.

Using a floured knife or pizza cutter, cut pastry lengthwise into about a half finger width, or 1/2-inch strips.  Hold each end of the pastry and twist several times.  place the twisted pastry on the prepared sheet, about 1-inch apart.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.  You may want to take the baking cheese straws out halfway through baking to flip to they are evenly browned.  Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before placing in a large glass to serve with some nice pasta. Use the straws to scoop up the left over sauce.

Cheese straws will last, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days.  They’re really best within a day of baking after that they kinda become stale.