Because puff pastry stuffed with chorizo just doesn’t sound fancy :)
I know it’s terribly early, but New Year’s is right around the corner and I’m already planning things ahead. It’s always a crazy and fun evening with lots of friends, family and neighbors dropping by. Large tables filled with copious amounts of potato and salmon salad, warm crispy bread, lots of hot & cold tapas, spicy wings, mini snacks, chicken satay, a few stiff drinks and not to forget, plenty of champagne!
Now of course a party wouldn’t be a party in my house without my beloved Spanish Varillas! But I’m going to share another party food/tapas/appetizer recipe that’s easy, tasty and fool-proof. You can even let your kids help make them, they’ll love it. What’s even better is the fact you can make them a day (or even two) ahead of time and bake them when you need them! Huge time saver.
3 heaping tbsp garlic/herb cream cheese
6 puff pastry sheets (frozen)
1/2 cup cheese, grated
roughly 4oz chorizo
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 small red onion
Start by chopping the onion and bell pepper, chop as finely as you can or use your food processor.
I used a little over 4oz Spanish Chorizo, about half a ‘sausage’. Finely mince it. Of course I had to taste a few pieces!
Use a little oil and sautee the onion and bell pepper until your onion is translucent. Yikes, my silicone spoon needs replacement, it seriously looks like I chewed on it. The camera is brutal, I tell you, brutal.
Put the chorizo in a big bowl and add your grated cheese.
Now add 3 heaping tbsp spiked cream cheese. I bought it like this (Boursin) but you can also add a little garlic (powder) and some dried herbs to plain cream cheese and use that. Plunge in your vegetable mix and also add 1/2 to 1 tsp dried basil.
Add a good pinch of black pepper, grab a fork and start mixing it all up. Taste to see if it needs more of anything. Usually it’s perfect like this.
Sprinkle a little flour on your cutting board or kitchen counter.
Place the pastry sheets next to each other and sprinkle a little flour on top as well.
Now break out your dough pin – if you’re anything like me it’s probably somewhere in the back of a drawer with the other stuff you seldom use anymore. Great to have around for these occasions, though. Start rolling out the puff pastry a bit. No need to make it paper thin, just a little thinner.
This is pretty much what you want to end up with.
Now the best thing is to use a cookie cutter but make sure you use one that’s about 3 inches wide. Mine were smaller, much smaller, so I just grabbed a glass that fit the measurements I needed. Have to make do with what I have, right? Cut out little pastry circles.
It works the same with pastry puff as it does with cookie dough. Get the leftovers and knead it.
Sprinkle a little flour underneath the dough and roll it out again. Using your cookie cutter or glass or whatever, continue making pastry circles.
Until you have no pastry left and end up with a huge pile of these.
Then it’s time to get serious. Start filling the pastry. Use 1/2 to 1 tsp filling on one half, fold the other half over and seal the edges. If the edges won’t stick as much as it did before rolling out the dough for the 2d (3d or 4th) time, just get your fingers wet and lightly dab some water on the inside of the pastry, that will make it sticky again.
When you’re done, place them on a cookie sheet. I’m using this blue silicone one, it actually didn’t dawn on me -until 5 months after using it- I was using the wrong side. It needed to be shiny side up. All this time I just thought the thing was a marketing stunt and didn’t work properly. How daft can I get? Yeah, don’t even say it .. I know. Trust me, I know.
Let’s get a little paprika powder on top of them. Just hold your measuring spoon over a small sieve (it’s called a sieve, right?) and lightly tap your finger on the side of the spoon. This will distribute the paprika powder more evenly.
Normally you would first brush some egg on top and then add paprika powder. I don’t, oh no, I do it the other way around because it seems to lock the paprika powder in.
Preheat your oven to 450 (225C) and bake them for 12 to 15 minutes until beautifully brown and puffy. Some will pop open, which only looks prettier. Sprinkle a little extra paprika powder on top and serve on a pretty platter.
If you’re going to make them ahead of time, follow this recipe right up to folding part. Put them in a plastic bag and store them in your fridge until you’re ready to use them. Preheat your oven while you let them come to room temperature, add the paprika powder, brush some egg on top and bake.
They are really good, but there’s just one ‘teeny tiny’ problem I keep running into …