Sunday, August 7

Mexican Patio Party!

This weekend my sister came for a visit and I had some of my favorite gals over for a Mexican fiesta on Saturday.  The menu included my home-made beef empanadas, chicken tacos and a trio of sauces: my El Diablo Salsa, Avacado Salsa and Black Bean/Cilantro dip!  And of course there were muchos margaritas!

My take on the empanadas is from a recipe in June Bon Appetit Magazine - I made them before following the recipe to the letter, but fooled around with the spices and improved the recipe quite a bit!

Spicy Beef Empanadas with Black Bean Dipping Sauce
1tbsp olive oil
1lb lean ground beef
4 large cloves garlic, finely minced
2tbsp tomato paste
3tsp cumin
2tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chopped fress cilantro
sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
397gram pkg Tenderflake pastry
2 eggs, beaten

1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed in cold water
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1/2 cup cilantro
4 cocktail tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 large scallions, white & green parts sliced

To make the empanadas: heat oil in a medium skillet, over medium high heat.  Add beef and garlic and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon to break up - about 3-5mins.  Add tomato paste and spices, reduce heat to mediumand cook another 4-5 minutes.  Add cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Let filling cool to room temperature.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll out the tenderflake pastry on a floured surface (thaw the pastry according to instructions on the pkg, and do one block at a time)  Once rolled out, cut each sheet into 4" squares - place a tablespoon of meat mixture in the centre of each square and fold into a triangle.  Using the tines of a fork to seal.
By the way, if you do this on a hot day, you gotta move quick!  Also, stay away from the President's Choice brand of pastry sheets - they are too brittle!

I made these ahead and stored in the fridge overnight on cookie sheets that I dusted in flour.  When you're ready to actually cook them, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Beat the eggs in a small bowl - with a pastry brush, paint the empanadas - this will give them a nice golden glow!  Bake for about 20 minutes - let cool slightly before serving.
Makes about 2 dozen delicious little packages!
For the dipping sauce (do this the day of the party) puree the beans, sour cream and cilanto in food processor until smooth.  Fold in the tomatoes and scallions.  Serve with the empanadas.

I love having gatherings where the guests can build their own little plates, so Twyla and Mari helped to set out the fixins for the chicken tacos.  I marinated chicken breasts with cumin, lemon juice, salt and pepper and minced garlic.

Oh! One of the best parts of Mexican Patio Party was definitely the margaritas - new product alert: Skinny Girl Margaritas!  Made/marketed by one of those Real Housewife gals - don't let that be a turn-off though b/c it really is tart and delicious.



  1. Ohh, I love empanadas, and these came out perfect!
    Sounds like a wonderful party. I'd have loved everything on the menu!