Grazianos is a specialty market in Coral Gables that sells everything from beautifully butchered meats, fine wines and ready made quiches to eye-popping pastries and confections. And they are home to the most amazing empanadas. Ah-MAZ-ing! They must have at least 20 different varieties and though this shop is definitely out of the way for me, I do sometimes find myself deep in Miami for an event. On those occasions, I always pack a cooler and stop at this market to buy at least one or two dozen empanadas — in a variety of flavors.
Coral Gables, if you’ve never visited, is a well-cultured, well-heeled and very well-fed (thanks to Graziano’s) enclave in Southern Miami-Dade county. It’s home to vibrant, trendy restaurants, phenomenal shopping and boasts a multi-cultural population that somehow manages to maintain a hometown feel. Scott and I love visiting, but it’s so far down into Miami, that unless we have a real reason to be there, we’d rather not fight the traffic and congestion to make the trip… but when we do, we’re always rewarded by those empanadas.
In-between those far-too-infrequent treks south, I have no choice but to suck it up and make my own empanadas. I have to say, these Hatch Chile Pork Empanadas are pretty addictive, too. Before I start telling you about them, I want to preface this with a confession — I cheated. I didn’t make the empanada wrappers. I’ve done it before — and they’re definitely better than these ready made ones — but come on — they’re READY MADE — and you know me and pastry — a string of cuss words followed by two hours in a confessional. So, store-bought it is – don’t judge.
I used ground pork, onions and fire roasted hatch chilies plus a bevy of mouthwatering spices to stuff these empanadas. Good enough to eat right out of the pan, but even better when wrapped in a flaky pastry — especially with a handful of melty cheese mixed in.
Just mound the filling into the center of the pastry, brush the egg wash around the edges and crimp them together with a fork. The egg wash acts as the glue to hold the empanadas together as well as adding a glistening shine to the pastry after it’s baked.
While the empanadas bake, make the bright herb sauce to go with them — it starts with parsley, cilantro and red pepper flakes plus fresh citrus and olive oil. Zhuzsh the ingredients in a blender and your done.
Eating the empanadas can be a messy two-handed affair — especially when the herb sauce drips down your arm! But you won’t be sorry, you’ll just reach for more! These Hatch Chile Pork Empanadas will tide you (and me) over until we make it down to Grazianos again!
Hatch Chile Pork Empanadas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 cup diced fire roasted hatch chiles or other mild pepper - like Anaheim, peeled and seeded first
- 1 cup shredded cheese such as cheddar or monterey jack or a combination
- 1 package empanada wrappers available in the frozen foods section or see recipe on this site
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons water
For the herb sauce
- 3/4 cup cilantro
- 3/4 cup parsley
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
Adjust the oven racks so that they are in the top third and bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat, add the onions and garlic and saute until softened and slightly translucent. Add the cumin, paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, stir to combine and continue to cook until the spices are fragrant, about one minute. Add the pork and break it up in the pan with the back of a spoon, cook until browned. Stir in the chopped hatch chiles. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine the egg and water and whisk with a fork until well combined.
Lay an empanada wrapper on a work surface and use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash around the edge of the empanada wrapper. Fill the center of the wrapper with 1-2 tablespoons of the pork filling. Sprinkle with cheese and fold the empanada wrapper in half, pressing out any air pockets. Use the tines of a fork to press the edges firmly together. Continue in this method with the remainder of the empanadas. Brush the empanadas with the remaining egg wash.
Place one tray of empanadas on the top rack and the other on the bottom. Bake for 12 minutes, then switch the top tray to the bottom rack and vice versa. Bake for an additional 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, while the empanadas are baking, combine the parsley, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes in a blender and blend to chop up the herbs. Drizzle in the olive oil slowly and continue to blend until emulsified and thick. Check for seasonings.
Serve the empanadas with the dipping sauce on the side.