Friends are coming over for game night and I need some tasty finger foods that are not the same dishes I usually prepare, one of which is jalapeño poppers. It’s not that we don’t enjoy poppers, because we love them, but more often than not, lately some of the jalapeños can be pretty spicy. It happens. So, to get around this and avoid having too many poppers left over, I decided to take my popper ingredients and stuff it into a mini corn masa empanada. This cheese, bacon and roasted jalapeño filling works really well with this quick-frying masa harina corn dough.
Yields 6 servings
For the Filling:
3 strips thick-cut bacon, chopped small
5 jalapeño peppers, roasted or charred
1 full cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1-1/2 teaspoons flour, optional
1/3 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 teaspoon pepper
1/3 teaspoon oregano
2 green onions, sliced small
For the Masa:
1-1/2 cups masa harina
1-1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons chile ancho powder or any mild chili powder
1-1/4 cups hot water
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
For the Chipotle Crema:
1 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
1 chipotle in adobo
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from chipotles
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Salt to taste
You Will Also Need:
2 cups oil for frying
1. In a bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients for the masa. Mix the olive oil in with the hot water. Gradually mix in the water to the dry ingredients until masa forms into a smooth ball. If it’s too sticky, sprinkle in a little more masa harina in. Divide masa into 24 small equal masa balls. Transfer to a plate, cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
2. In a skillet, cook the bacon at medium heat until crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and let cool. Dice or crumbly small once cooled.
3. Roast the jalapenos in a nonstick pan at medium heat for about 20 to 25 minutes. Turn as needed, charring in some spots. You can also char them on the direct flame. Set aside and let them cool. Once cooled, remove the stems and seeds and dice finely.
4. In a bowl combine the cooked bacon, jalapeno, cheese, flour, garlic, pepper, oregano and green onions. The flour will keep the cheese from becoming too sticky. Fold to combine, set aside. In a mini chopper or blender, combine all of the ingredients for the chipotle crema. Blend until smooth, taste for salt and set aside.
5. Using a tortilla press lined with plastic, press each masa ball gently into a 3 disk. Fill one side with about 1 tablespoon of popper/cheese filling. Using the plastic liner, fold over like a taco and seal the edges. Remove from plastic and mold the edges until slightly smoother and sealed completely. Repeat until all empanadas are filled. Keep them loosely covered with plastic or wax paper.
6. In a small, deep saucepan, preheat 2 cups of canola oil to medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes. When hot, fry two empanadas at the same time for 4 to 5 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. If they brown too quickly, reduce the heat slightly. Transfer cooked empanadas to a plate lined with paper towels. Serve right away with your favorite salsas and crema or keep them warm in a low temperature oven until ready to serve. Yields up to 6 servings.
Tips~ If you don’t need 24 mini empanadas, you could prepare 12 larger ones. They will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Reheat in a dry nonstick pan at medium heat.
Tips~ You can find the Toasted chile de Arbol Salsa (red salsa) right on site. Click onto picture below to see full recipe.
For Salsa Verde, click onto picture to see full recipe. Just so you know, I used 2 orange habanero chile peppers instead of red chile de arbol as listed in the original recipe.