Have you ever had smoked corn? Not quickly smoked on a charcoal grill, but actually smoked in a smoker? I hadn’t until last month, when I convinced The Grill-Meister to throw a few cobs in when he was smoking some salmon (recipe here). I gave them a quick char over the gas grill first and then he smoked the corn for a couple of hours.
The result was surprisingly delicious. Slow-smoked corn isn’t going to win any beauty pageants, as shrivels and has a bit of a gray hue, but in the taste department, it’s worthy of a first-place medal.
I cut the corn off the cob and made a salad with it, mixing in diced cucumber, grape tomatoes, red and green onions, herbs like oregano and basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and nestled it on a bed of peppery arugula.
The smoky flavor of the corn went snap, crackle, POP – it was a winner. I did the salad treatment again for an appetizer spread a couple of days later.
But I had more smoked corn than I could use within the next few days, so I chopped up more red and green onions and some bell pepper, mixed it with the corn, and froze a package of it for later.
Yesterday was “later”.
I had cooked a batch of my pulled pork the day before and thought it would be great to make and freeze some empanadas for the YGs (Young Glovers), who have a toddler and a baby and are always grateful for frozen food from Glover Gardens. I like to experiment and made up this recipe for them, using my pulled pork, some of the corn mixture I had frozen, and premade empanada dough discs (wrappers) that I always have available in the freezer – because empanadas are a GREAT way to spice up your leftover bits of meat and vegetables.
This recipe is one answer for the question: What to do with leftover pulled pork? But if you don’t have pulled pork (or smoked corn), you can still make great empanadas – see the notes after the recipe.
Pulled Pork and Smoked Corn Empanadas Recipe
Serves 4-6 as an appetizer; 2-3 as a main course
Cooking time: 1 hour
- ½ cup grated cheese (I used a mixture of cheddar and jack)
- 1 cup pulled pork, chopped pork or other leftover meat (see note)
- One cup corn kernels (smoked or not) or corn mixture (see note)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 package of empanada dough discs (12)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp water
Optional: dipping sauce (see note)
Preheat oven to 375°. Make an egg wash in a small bowl by beating the egg and 1 tsp water with a fork. Set aside. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
Combine the pork, cheese, corn, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and mix well. Divide the mix into two equal parts in the bowl and then divide each half into six equal parts. Roll out an empanada wrapper slightly, then brush the egg wash around the edges. Put an oblong shaped section of the filling in the center of the empanada wrapper, then fold it over, so that the sides meet. Use a fork to crimp the edges and make sure they are tight, then put the empanada on the baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the empanada wrappers and filling (there should be just enough filling for 12 wrappers). Then brush the egg wash over the tops of all empanadas and bake for 18 to 21 minutes.
When they’re golden brown, remove the baking sheet from the oven and serve immediately, or put the empanadas on a cooling rack and refrigerate or freeze to serve later.
Don’t be put off of this recipe if you don’t have smoked corn. It would be good with grilled corn, a corn salad, or corn maque choux. Heck, even frozen or canned corn would do, but you’d need to add a little spice like my Zippy Southwest to jazz it up.
The same is true of the pulled pork. It’s what I had on hand, and it made truly spectacular empanadas, but you could substitute any chopped or shredded meat. If you do, be sure to add spice and flavor, even if it’s just a tablespoon of Zippy Southwest and/or a similar amount of barbecue sauce.
These empanadas are tasty little pillows of smoky, meaty goodness encased in a flaky, tender, golden crust. They don’t need a dipping sauce, but being the party animals they are, they certainly don’t mind one, either. My recommendations for dipping sauces are many: salsa macha, chimichurri, a garlic or chipotle mayo, guacamole, cilantro pesto or Stephanie’s green dip.
The empanadas make a great appetizer, but can also be a main course, serving 2-3 people, depending of course on their appetite and passion for gustatory pleasures. A good pairing is black beans and rice, or refried beans and a simple salad of arugula and grape tomatoes lightly dressed with olive oil and a flavored balsamic vinegar.
Join Me in the Kitchen
Do you think the YGs will notice that I ate one of their empanadas from the batch? I did it for you, Dear Readers: I had to know what it tasted like!
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