Thursday, July 24, 2008

Beef and Cheese Empanada Filling

This is the filling recipe that accompanies the Mini Empanada recipe. You really should try these, they are delicious. We had guacamole for dipping, they would be equally good with fresh salsa and/or sour cream also. If you're not in the mood for beef empanadas, try the Turkey Filling with Raisins & Olives *coming soon!

Beef and Cheese Empanada Filling
Enough for about 48 mini empanadas

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano leaves, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 pound (85 percent lean) ground chuck
3/4 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and ground black pepper
2 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)

1. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, oregano, cumin, cloves, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the beef and cook, breaking up the clumps with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

2. Stir in the broth, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the mixture is moist but not wet, about 8 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely cool, about 1 hour. Stir in the cheese and continue to chill until needed, up to 3 days.

3. Follow directions for assembling, storing and serving Mini Empanadas.

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