Ham & Cheese Empanadas: A Deliciously Filling Snack!
My dear readers, it is a great pleasure to introduce you to one of the most delightful recipes I have had the honor to prepare in my kitchen. Today, I present to you the Ham & Cheese Empanadas recipe, a perfect blend of American and Brazilian cuisine in one delicious bite.
This savory combination of ham and cheese nestled inside a flaky puff pastry shell will surely be a crowd-pleaser at your next gathering or dinner party. With its crispy exterior and gooey, melted cheesy filling, this dish is hard to resist.
Whether you’re looking for a quick snack, an appetizer, or a light meal option that won’t disappoint, these empanadas are precisely what you need. They can be served hot or cold and make an excellent addition to any picnic or holiday platter.
I have no doubt that once you taste these empanadas, they will quickly become a family favorite in your home. So without further ado, let’s get started on this journey of flavors and indulge in the deliciousness of these Ham & Cheese Empanadas.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Let me share with you why I believe this Ham & Cheese Empanadas Recipe is an absolute delight that you will want to add to your repertoire of favored dishes.
Firstly, empanadas are always a crowd-pleaser. They are the perfect handheld treat that can be enjoyed as a snack or a meal at any time of the day. And when it comes to this particular recipe, the ham and cheese combination creates a flavor explosion that will leave your taste buds begging for more.
Secondly, this recipe is incredibly versatile. Not only can you customize the filling with different types of cheese and meats, but you can also use any type of pastry dough you prefer – from traditional empanada dough to puff pastry or even pie crust. The possibilities are endless!
Thirdly, this recipe is easy to make and perfect for beginners. With simple steps and few ingredients, it’s a great way to get familiar with the world of empanadas without feeling overwhelmed.
In short, if you’re looking for a delicious dish that everyone in your household will enjoy, then look no further than these Ham & Cheese Empanadas. The combination of warm flaky pastry, melty cheese and savory ham is simply irresistible!
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make these scrumptious ham and cheese empanadas:
- Flour (1 1/2 cups)
- Salt (1/2 tsp)
- Cold water (1/3 cup)
- Butter or margarine (1/2 cup, cold)
- Diced ham (1 cup)
- Shredded cheddar cheese (1 cup)
- Shredded mozzarella cheese (1 cup)
- Dried parsley (1 tbsp)
- Black pepper (1/2 tsp)
- Granulated sugar (1 tsp)
- Cold milk (2 tbsp)
- Sour cream (2 tbsp, room temperature)
- Egg (1 large, beaten)
Note: You can use leftover baked ham for this recipe. However, if you don’t have any, you can use cooked ham instead.
- Grated smoked gouda or edam cheese – this adds a delightful smoky flavor to the filling.
- Argentinian ham or queso ham cheese – these cheeses have a unique flavor that complements the ham.
- Onion powder or brown sugar – use a small amount to add depth and sweetness to your filling.
For the empanada dough recipe, you may either use puff pastry or pie crust. You may also add cream cheese to the dough mixture for added richness.
The Recipe How-To
Now that we have all the necessary ingredients, let’s start making these Ham & Cheese Empanadas!
To start, preheat the oven to 350F. Melt 4 tbsp of butter (or margarine) in a large pan over medium heat. Add in 1 small chopped onion and sauté until soft, approximately 3-4 minutes. Then add in 1 1/2 cups of cooked ham, which has been chopped.
Creating the Filling
Now is the time to add in our cheeses! Stir until well combined, adding in 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup of grated smoked Gouda or Edam cheese (whichever one you prefer). To give it an extra pop of flavor, add in 1 tablespoon of dried parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, and a pinch of salt and black pepper (to taste).
Preparing the Dough
Take out your thawed puff pastry (or empanada dough), separate into squares and roll each square flat. Spoon some filling into each square (about 2 tablespoons), then fold over into a triangular shape. Crimp the edges together with a fork to make sure they stay closed while baking. Repeat this process until all the filling is used up.
Baking the Empanadas
Whisk together an egg with 2 tablespoons of water to create an egg wash. Brush each empanada with the egg wash, sprinkle on some additional shredded cheese on top if you desire. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until they turn golden brown.
Once baked perfectly, remove from the oven and allow them to cool for a bit before serving hot alongside sour cream or your favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy!
Substitutions and Variations
In case you don’t have some of the ingredients or want to experiment with different flavors, there are many substitutions and variations that you can try to make this Ham & Cheese Empanadas Recipe your own. Here are a few suggestions:
– Instead of ham, try using cooked bacon or shredded chicken for a different twist. You can also add some vegetables like diced bell peppers, onions, or tomatoes to the filling for extra nutrition and crunch.
– If you’re not fond of cheddar cheese, substitute with Monterey Jack or Swiss cheese. For a more tangy and creamy flavor, add some cream cheese or sour cream to the mixture.
– If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, use whole wheat flour instead of white flour, and replace butter or margarine with olive oil. You can also use low-fat cheese or opt for vegan cheese if you’re lactose intolerant.
– For a more savory and spicy taste, add some hot sauce or crushed red pepper flakes to the ham mixture. You can also sprinkle some smoked paprika, onion powder or garlic powder to enhance the flavors.
– If you want to make these empanadas ahead of time and freeze them for later use, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before baking. Store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to one month. To reheat, bake in the oven at 350°F until golden brown and crispy.
With these substitutions and variations options at hand, you can customize your Ham & Cheese Empanadas Recipe according to your taste preference or dietary needs. Get creative and enjoy!
Serving and Pairing
Once your ham and cheese empanadas are baked to golden perfection, you’ll want to serve them up hot and fresh. These flaky pastries are perfect for serving as a party appetizer, a snack or even as a light meal. They’re portable and make great finger food for guests to enjoy while mingling.
If you’re serving these empanadas for a main meal, consider pairing them with a simple green salad, like mesclun or arugula, lightly dressed with oil and vinegar dressing. You could also serve them with a side of roasted vegetables, such as zucchini or bell peppers.
As for drinks, beer or wine would be excellent choices that would complement the savory flavors of the empanadas. You might also try pairing them with a chilled glass of sparkling water infused with slices of lime or cucumber to refresh and cleanse your palate between bites.
For an even more Latin-inspired meal, you can serve these empanadas with some homemade salsa or guacamole on the side. This will add an extra burst of flavor while keeping things light and healthy.
With so many options for serving and pairing this tasty dish, the possibilities are endless! Once you’ve tried them out for yourself, experiment and find the perfect combination that suits your unique tastes.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Whether you are preparing these ham and cheese empanadas for a party, quick snack or just want to make them ahead of time, there are a few tips to keep in mind when storing and reheating. Ideally, they are best served hot and fresh out of the oven, but with a bit of preparation, they can still be enjoyed even after a day or two.
To make-ahead or store, let the empanadas cool down completely before placing them in an airtight container or plastic wrap to prevent air exposure. You can store them in the fridge for up to three days, or freeze them for later use. For freezing, make sure they are also wrapped properly before putting them in the freezer. They can be frozen for up to two months.
When reheating, always opt for an oven rather than the microwave. This allows the empanadas to retain their crispy exterior while getting heated through evenly. To reheat, preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C), take the empanadas out of the fridge and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Heat for about 10-12 minutes, or until they are fully heated through and crispy again.
If you have leftover empanadas filling, it can be stored in a separate container and consumed within three days. It can be used as a quick sandwich filling or added to scrambled eggs for breakfast.
With these tips, leftovers from this ham and cheese empanadas recipe won’t go to waste because you can easily store and reheat them at any time.
Tips for Perfect Results
Achieving the perfect flavor and texture can give you a different level of satisfaction in preparing dishes, and this recipe is no exception. Here are some tips that I have learned from my years of making Ham & Cheese Empanadas.
1. Chill the Dough
One of the most critical steps for creating a perfect Ham & Cheese Empanadas is to chill the dough. This process allows the fat in the dough to distribute evenly, resulting in a flaky crust. For best results, I suggest wrapping the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerating it for at least an hour or overnight.
2. Cut Ingredients Uniformly
Ensure your ham and cheese are cut into even pieces to make sure every empanada has equal filling. Take your time slicing these ingredients, as inconsistent slices mean some empanadas will have too much filling, while others may lack it.
3. Choose Your Cheese Wisely
Remember that cheese is one of the crucial components of this recipe. Always use quality cheese such as cheddar or mozzarella cheese shredded just before adding it to the ham mixture for maximum taste and texture.
4. Don’t Overstuff
Filling the pastry with excessive ingredients not only makes it hard to seal closed, resulting in poking holes but alters their proportions, causing some to be undercooked or burned on parts of its surface. Fill each empanada with approximately 2 tablespoons of filling chicken or beef for optimal ratios.
5. Use Parchment Paper
Placing parchment paper between each layer establishes a barrier and prevents the pastry from sticking together. This method saves time when needing to reheat or defrost individual servings later on.
With these tips, you are far more likely to impress your family and friends with your freshly baked ham & cheese empanadas made entirely from scratch!
In conclusion, this Ham & Cheese Empanadas Recipe is the perfect addition to any mealtime. With its flaky crust and oozy cheese filling, it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Using these high-quality ingredients and following the recipe instructions will ensure that you have a delicious outcome.
Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner, or you’re hosting a party or gathering, these empanadas are a great option. They can be made-ahead of time and reheated for convenience, making them an excellent time-saver.
So why not try out this recipe and experiment with different fillings and variations? You’ll love how versatile it is, allowing you to customize it according to your preferences. With these tips and tricks, making perfect empanadas will become second nature. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and whip up a batch of these delightful Ham & Cheese Empanadas today!
Ham & Cheese Empanadas Recipe
- 2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup cold butter or 3/4 cup margarine
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 cup chopped ham (either leftover ham or deli luncheon meat)
- 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 1 egg (for egg wash)
- For the dough: Combine flour & butter in a large bowl.
- Using a pastry blender or a fork, mix until the butter is evenly distributed among the flour.
- Dissolve the salt & sugar in the water & stir into the flour mix.
- On a lightly floured surface, lightly knead dough until it forms a ball, adding more water or flour if needed.
- Cover the bowl with lid or plastic wrap & refrigerate 1 hour.
- Roll dough out on a floured surface about 1/8 inch thick.
- With a circle cookie cutter, cut out a 4-inch circle.
- Continue until you have used all of the dough.
- For filling: Put parsley, ham, breadcrumbs, cheese, sour cream, egg & pepper into a large bowl.
- Mix well.
- Put dough circles on a greased pan.
- Put 2 Tbsp. of filling in center of each circle.
- Fold dough circles in half, press & seal with a fork.
- For egg wash: beat egg & add about 1 Tbsp water.
- Brush egg wash on top of each empanada.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
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Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.