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Spinach Empanadas

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
4 ounces bacon
1/4 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
8 ounces cottage cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg


In a large bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead lightly about 30 seconds. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook bacon until crisp; reserve 1 tablespoon bacon drippings. Crumble cooked bacon into fine pieces; set aside. In a small pan over medium heat in reserved hot bacon drippings, cook onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. In a bowl, combine bacon, onion mixture, spinach, cottage cheese, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Preheat oven to 450F. On lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough to 1/8-inch thick. Cut into 3-inch circles using a biscuit cutter or glass dipped in flour. Place 1 teaspoon of the spinach filling on one half of a circle. Using your fingertip, moisten edge of circle with a little water. Fold dough over to form a semicircle; press edges with tines of a fork to seal. (Can be made ahead to this point. Place empanadas on a cookie sheet and freeze. When frozen, put empanadas into a plastic bag and seal.) Place raw or frozen empanadas on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden (about 15 minutes if frozen).

Yield: about 5 dozen empanadas.