Kids in the Kitchen- Puff Pastry "Empanadas" with Chorizo and Spinach - Madison Eats
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    Kids in the Kitchen- Puff Pastry “Empanadas” with Chorizo and Spinach

    Jun 28 2013

    Sometimes you get lucky. Maybe you unexpectedly have a good hair day. Or your spouse surprises you with flowers. Perhaps you find money in a pair of pants you buy at a thrift store.

    Or, maybe, just maybe, your kid proves to be an amazing chef. And cooks dinner for you once a week.

     Well, I know I’m lucky because all of these things have happened to me; two in the past week! And in case you are wondering, it wasn’t the money finding.

     My son, Jarra, has been making dinner once a week for the past four months or so. He was ten at the time, and in a moment of feeling overwhelmed with household responsibilities, I made him–I mean asked him–to cook a weekly meal.

     He has taken to the task with gusto. Each week he makes a dinner. My only rule is that it has to include a vegetable. Hubby and I are impressed. And we are not the only ones. His little sister has enjoyed his cooking too. As a matter of fact just last night he made burgers. From mixing to grilling he did it all. He made a Caesar salad to boot.

    My husband and I said, “This is amazing!”

    Little sis retorted, “This is not amazing.”

    “What? What do you mean? Don’t be rude, of course it’s amazing.” we said.

    “This is not amazing.The Shepherd’s pie he made was amazing.”

    Oh, boy.

    I have loved everything he’s made. One of my favorite meals was the puff pastry with chorizo, spinach and potatoes. I don’t just love his food because I’m his mom! I swear. He embraces flavor and spices. He experiments. And guess what, he told me he enjoys it too. “Mom,” he said, “thanks for making me cook.”

    I am lucky.


    Puff Pastry “Empanadas” with Chorizo and Spinach


    1 package puff pastry (sheets)
    1 tbsp olive oil

    1/2 yellow onion, diced
    About 3 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and diced
    6 oz chorizo sausage, removed from casing
    2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
    salt to taste
    4 oz cream cheese
    6 oz montery jack cheese or mexican cheese
    6 oz baby spinach (about 4 cups fresh leaves), steamed and drained.

    1. Preheat oven to 400.

    Make filling (can make ahead and freeze):

    1. Cook chorizo sausage over medium-low heat until oil has separated and sausage is cooked. Remove sausage from oil, drain and set aside.

    2. Par-boil or steam potatoes in microwave until just tender.

    2. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook onions and potatoes until golden brown. Add chorizo. Cook, covered until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes, stirring often.

    3. Add cilantro, salt and pepper to taste.


    1. Thaw puff pastry about 45 minutes at room temperature.

    2. Cut each sheet into three equal parts (or more for smaller puffs).

    3. Spread 1 tbsp of cream cheese on bottom of pastry.

    4. Layer a bunch of spinach, then top with 2 tbsp chorizo-potato mixture and some grated cheese.

    5. Fold pastry over and gently press.

    6. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.

    Puff pastry filled with spicy chorizo, potatoes, a bit of cream cheese and spinach.

    Otehlia Cassidy stands in front of the WI State Capitol.

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