I thought we'd start the evening off with some cervesas, chips and salsa and some fresh guacamole. I think I'll add these pork empanadas to the list, too. We had these at the first dinner we went to in Mexico. They were filled only with mozzarella and pumpkin flower. They were delicious. I was surprised that they used mozzarella and not a Mexican queso, but the chef assured me it was mozzarella. Whatever, it was awesome.
I made these on a whim one night when we'd first returned from vacation. Originally, I was going to make them vegetarian, with just cheese. I could not find pumpkin flowers so I was going to do them without. That was when I decided I may as well use some leftover shredded pork I had. They were incredible! I used the pork carnita recipe from Gina's Skinny Taste, which my family loves! And wrapped inside tender, flaky pastry with creamy, melted cheese - I dare say it's even better! (Although not as skinny as Gina had intended. Whoops!)
Serve them with some sour cream, pickled red onions and salsa verde and you have a fantastic appetizer for a party. Or just have a few with a little additional shredded pork and a side salad, and you've got a great small meal.
Shredded Pork Empanadas
Pork Carnita recipe adapted from Gina's Skinny Taste
For the shredded pork:
1 pork tenderloin, approximately 1.25 pounds
6 cloves of garlic
dry adobo seasoning
3.4 cup fat free chicken broth
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
Season pork with salt and pepper. In a medium saute pan on medium high, brown the pork on all sides. Remove from eat and allow to cool.
Using a sharp knife, insert blade into pork, cutting small holes and insert garlic cloves. Season pork all over with cumin, adobo and garlic powder.
Pour chicken broth into the crockpot and add chipotle peppers. Place the tenderloin in the crock pot and cover. Cook on low for 8 hours. After 8 hours, shred the pork using two forks and mix with the juices in the crock pot. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper or cumin if needed. Let cool.
*I usually make this as tacos and have about half left over, which I freeze to use at a later date. I defrosted some of my reserved shredded pork for these empanadas.
For the empanadas:
1 package frozen pre-made empanada disks, defrosted**
1.5 cups Mexican shredded pork carnita
1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced into small pieces
1 egg, whisked for wash
pickled red onions, salsa verde and sour cream for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place an empanada disk on the counter and place a slice of mozzarella on one half of the disk. Be sure the cheese is small enough to leave room around the edge to crimp the dough closed. Place a teaspoon of carnita on top, fold the dough over and crimp dough closed. Place each empanda on a cookie sheet about 1" apart from each other. Brush with egg and bake for 20-25 minutes, until browned.
Serve with pickled red onions, salsa verde and sour cream.
**I used pre-made disks in this dish because my first attempt at empanadas left me with tough pastry, and undesirable empanadas. I didn't want to run the risk again, so I took this lovely short cut.