Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Beef Empanadas

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

When it comes to foods we enjoy while watching sports, most have a few things in common. Hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn—no utensils needed, easily eaten with your hands, and maybe a napkin or two.

Football food is no exception. For this week's Cook the Book giveaway we asked you to tell us about your favorite game day foods, and the responses so far have been heavy on the finger food—lots of chips and dip, wings, and pizza.

In an effort to mix up the rotation of snacks being served this Super Bowl Sunday I turned to Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn to see what kind of hand-held food might lie within. As it turns out Quinn is a big fan of pocket pie.

Her boys would come home asking for the Hot Pockets that they'd eaten at a friend's house but Quinn was not one to feed her loved ones frozen pastries filled with all kinds of nasty preservatives. Instead she decided to make her own with homemade pastry and fillings that would even include fresh vegetables in place of nitrate-filled ham and low grade cheese.

I decided to try my hand at Quinn's Beef Emapandas, figuring that they would make an ideal football watching snack since you can eat them with one hand and still comfortably hold a beer in the other.

The first step was to make the Cream Cheese Pastry, a shockingly simple food processor dough that came together in seconds and rolled out with barely any effort at all. Once the dough was chilling in the fridge I set about making the filling. It's a great sweet, savory, salty mix of ground beef, raisins, and pimento-stuffed olives.

Usually any type of stuffed pastry involves a pretty serious time commitment but these empanadas where successfully assembled and in the oven in about an hour, thanks in a large part to the virtually fool-proof dough.

They baked up a gorgeous gold with the help of the egg wash and the crust was rich and pliant. The filling which was great before it went into the oven went through some kind of transformation during the baking and tasted even better when paired with the buttery pastry.

I must confess that I don't have any plans to attend any Super Bowl parties on Sunday but if I were invited to one I would most definitely be toting along a mess of these beef empanadas. They are compact, handheld, and a perfect match for a cold beer.

Win Mad Hungry

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Mad Hungry to give away this week.

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