Chorizo & Cheese Empanadas with Avocado Crema



Empanadas make a deliciously different lunch or dinner and need nothing more than a crisp green salad on the side. They’re also perfect for parties, right at home with other hot or cold appetizers. To make this recipe more quickly, substitute Mexican-style chorizo for the meat mixture. If you prefer, you can bake the empanadas instead of frying them…

Use Michelle's Empanada Dough Recipe or look for empanada shells—preferably muy hojadrosa (“very flaky”) style—at Latin markets, at gourmet food stores, and online.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Michelle Bernstein

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  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 dried pasilla chile peppers (or other mild dried red chiles)
  • 1 guajillo chili peppers (or other mild dried red chile)
  • 1 onion (cut into large chunks)
  • 4 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pound queso blanco (or other mild, semi-hard cheese, grated)
  • empanada dough (or store-bought empanada shells to make about 48 6-inch or 64 5-inch empanadas)
  • all-purpose flour (for the work surface)
  • 6 cups canola oil
  • 1 avocado (peeled, pitted, and quartered)
  • 1 cup cilantro (roughly chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/2 lime (juiced)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt (to taste)
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    1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, toast the chiles (pasilla and guajillo), turning occasionally, until blistered and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chiles to a bowl of hot water, cover and set aside for 15 minutes.
    2. Remove the chiles from the water and stem and seed them. Place the chiles, 1 onion, 4 Tbs vinegar, and 2 cloves garlic in the bowl of a food processor or the jar of a blender and process to purée, scraping down the bowl or jar as needed.
    3. Transfer the chile mixture to a large bowl and add the ground pork, 1 Tbs paprika, 2 tsp oregano, 2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon, mixing until well combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
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