Friday, August 10, 2012

Chorizo Jam & Charred Corn Empanadas with Cilantro Crèma

Chorizo Jam & Charred Corn Empanadas with Cilantro Crèma 
Bacon Jam is just so good. Lemme tell you. So why limit it to just bacon? No no no, that's no good at all. We gotta make more meaty jams. This includes Chorizo Jam, and eventually, Pancetta Jam. But today, we're gonna talk about chorizo. Oh, I do love chorizo so. It's super spicy sausage... what's not to love? Especially when it's shoved into Empanadas. I have never been particularly attached to empanadas. But, maybe it's because I had never had one that was yummy. And these my friend are yummy. I recently saw someone put chorizo and corn into an empanada, and it was an instant success, so I thought I would try my luck with it... but with Chorizo Jam of course. Well, it was perfectly sweet & spicy. I really liked the cornmeal pastry dough too. I thought they need some sort of sauce though, so I made a Cilantro Crèma, which you can chose to leave as is or make it creamy like I did. My Mountain Man preferred the herby sauce while I chose the other. Typical, right? Either way, these empanadas are sure not to disappoint and I know I'll be making them again. I think they would be perfect for a party, don't you think?? Well, enjoy :)
Look at that big plate of yummy empanadas :)
First, you gotta stuff some Chorizo Jam in the center...
Then, some corn and some cheese too (forgot the cheese picture though) 
Here are the two dipping sauces...
My Mountain Man's Batch of Empanadas
And mine...
For the Cornmeal Crust:
1 1/3C AP Flour
1/3C Yellow Cornmeal
1T Sugar
½t Sea Salt
1 Stick Unsalted Butter, Cut into Cubes & Chilled
¼C Ice Water (plus a little extra if the dough is too dry)

For the Chorizo Jam:
1lb Ground Chorizo
1 Large Red Onion, Sliced
3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1t Dried Rosemary
½t-1t Red Pepper Flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)
¼C Dark Brown Sugar, Packed
¼C Freshly Brewed Strong Coffee
2T Coca Cola
¼C Balsamic Vinegar
¼C Maple Syrup
2T Bourbon
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the Cilantro Crèma:
1 Bunch of Cilantro
3T Pine Nuts
3T Garlic, Chopped
1T Lime Juice
1t Lime Zest, Grated
½ Jalapeno, Diced
¼C Parmesan, Grated
¼C Olive Oil
Mexican Crema or Sour Cream, For Mixing

For the Chorizo Jam-Charred Corn Empanadas:
Prepared Cornmeal Crust, Chilled
Prepared Chorizo Jam, Room Temperature
Charred Corn, Room Temperature
Pepperjack Cheese, Shredded (you will need about 1T of cheese per empanada)
Cilantro Crèma, For Dipping
1 Egg Yolk + ½t Cold Water (for an egg wash)

1. For the Cornmeal Crust: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse oatmeal. Add ¼C ice water, stirring lightly with a fork until the flour is moistened, and then gently knead the dough 4-6 times in the bowl, until it comes together. You may have to add up to an additional 2T of ice water if the dough seems dry. Shape the dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2. For the Chorizo Jam: Bring a deep sauté pan or large pot to medium-high heat. Cook the ground chorizo while making sure to break the meat up into small pieces (I used two forks to break them apart). Do not overcook the sausage, just make sure that the sausage is cooked through and slightly browned. Drain the rendered chorizo fat by setting a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and spooning the meat and rendered fat into the sieve. Let it sit in the sieve while you caramelize the onions. Add the slices onions to the pot, then add in 1T of the rendered fat and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and starting to brown, about 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, coffee, Coke, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup, stir, and bring a light boil. Add the drained chorizo and bring back to a light boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low. You want to keep a low, steady simmer to reduce the liquid and thicken it without burning the jam. The process of the reduction can take as long as 1 hour. If the jam becomes too dry, add 1-2T of water. Remove the chorizo jam from the heat; add in the bourbon, and let cool for 20-30 minutes. Depending on your preference, you can use it as is or process the jam in a food processor to a less chunky consistency (we like our jam chunky). Once it has cooled, you can put the jam in an airtight container and store it for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Set the Chorizo Jam to the side while you begin to assemble.
3. To Make the Cilantro Crèma: Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor, except for the olive oil and sour cream. Blend until it is a coarse mixture. Next, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until it becomes smooth and creamy. To make the Cilantro Crèma, I mix two spoonfuls of Crèma with one spoonful of cilantro pesto until well incorporated. Serve on the side for dipping.
4. For the Chorizo Jam-Charred Corn Empanadas: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Remove the cornmeal crust from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for 15 minutes. Lightly flour your work surface. Using a rolling pin to roll the dough out 1/8inch thick. Using a 4inch biscuit or cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles. We made roughly a dozen. Place 1T of Chorizo Jam, 1T of Charred Corn, and 1T Shredded Pepperjack Cheese in the center of each round (you will have leftover Chorizo Jam, which you can use to make more empanadas or use it for another recipe. If you do want to make more empanadas, just double the cornmeal crust recipe). Fold each dough round in half over the filling, making sure you don’t tear the dough or push the filling to the edges, and using your fingers, press the edges together, and then crimp them with a fork to seal them.
5. Place the empanadas onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the empanadas from the oven and brush them with the egg wash, and then bake another 10 minutes or until they are golden brown (I also like the broil them at the very end just for a little more color).
6. Serve the empanadas warm with the Cilantro Crèma for dipping.


  1. I'm very excited to be making these tomorrow night! I have a quick question though...I plan to freeze at least half, so would that be before baking them or after?

    1. I have never frozen these before, but my semi-educated guess would be to first make all of the stuffing ingredients; this make sure it is nice + chilled before adding it into the center of the cold pastry dough. Hot food and cold pastry do not mix over time :) While the filling ingredients chill/come to room temperature, make your pastry crust and chill that as well. After everything has cooled down... assemble the empanadas, seal/crimp them, and place them onto a silpat/parchment paper lined baking sheet. Pop those into the freezer for maybe an hour or two (??) until they are pretty much frozen & solid. This method will help them to not get stuck together when placed into a storage container or plastic ziploc bag. Place the frozen, assembled empanadas into whatever container you like and just pop them into the freezer. My guess is that they would keep for a month or two (maybe even longer, you might want to check on how long chorizo is good in the freezer for, each meat is different, I just don't know specifics). Now that they are all prepped, ready, and frozen, you can pull them out whenever you like... just place them onto a lined baking sheet and allow them to defrost, and then proceed with brushing them with a egg wash + baking them in the oven. I can't guarantee that the texture will be as flaky as time goes on, but I would still think they would taste delicious! I think this recipe roughly makes about 8 medium sized empanadas. Although I do believe I may have had some leftover chorizo jam + charred corn left over, so you could probably double the pie crust in order to make more for a party... or you could stuff them with whatever you're little heart desires :) I hope that helps, it's just a rough guesstimate of what I would do myself!! Thanks for the comment, and let me know how it goes!

      XOXO, Juliana

    2. Also one quick note, I have also made Bacon Jam Empanadas and they are the bomb as well if you would rather work with that instead of Chorizo... you can find the recipe here:

      Also, if you are one that likes to make shortcuts, I have also bought some high quality Corn Salsa (or used leftover homemade salsa) instead of charred corn. I highly recommend Chipotle's Corn Salsa because it is perfectly sweet, spicy, & fresh-tasting. So just a little food for thought!

      XOXO, Juliana