|Margarita's Party Recipes|
Empanadas are the perfect party food. They are delicious, easy to make in quantity, filling and you don't need a plate or utensils to eat them. Needless to say, I serve them at practically all my parties.
The key to serving them this Halloween was just to find a way to "package" them in a Halloweenish way. I did so by calling them "melted worm empanadas" and decorating the serving plate with gummy worms. It didn't fool anyone, but they all ate them and loved (there were none left).
I don't make empanada shells from scratch - nobody in Argentina does it, it's too much trouble and commercial products are superior. If you can, buy La Salteña "tapas para empanadas para el horno" (empanada shells for the oven). They are often available, at least in California, at Latino markets. They come frozen and you need to defrost them before using them. You can leave them overnight in the fridge or use the microwave, just make sure they are nice and flexible when you are ready to prepare them.
Cheese and ham and cheese empanadas are great because they require minimum preparation for the filling. I recommend that you use Monterey jack cheese, because it has the right consistency after melting. I made 24 empanadas (12 cheese and 12 ham and cheese) and this recipe is for that, but you can divide or multiply the recipe as you like. Each empanada shell package usually has 12, and you should plan on 2 empanadas per person as a party dish or appetizer and about 4 as a main dish (more if they are the hungry type).
Ham & Cheese Empanadas
24 empanada shells 1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1 ½" X ½" X ½" pieces 3 oz. Cooked Ham, chopped 1 egg, lightly beaten sugar
Pre-heat oven to 400F. Grease two baking sheets.
Fill the lower half of each empanada shell with ham and cheese. Fold the top half over the bottom half into a semi-circle. Press the edges together with your fingers, wet them if they don't stick. Press the teeth of a fork against the edges, binding both sides together.
Brush the top side of the empanadas with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake in the oven until golden, around 10-15".