The Kentucky Derby is this weekend. I’ve never been to the actual race (though I have toured Churchill Downs). But I dream of going some day, of wearing a ridiculous hat and cheering on my horse. Until that dream comes true I make do by inviting friends over to wear ridiculous hats, drink lovely drinks out of my Derby glasses and place a $2 bet on a horse. It’s great fun.
This year the Derby is being run on May 5th – Cinco de Mayo. I’ve heard that people in Mexico don’t even celebrate this day but up here it’s a great excuse to break out the salsa and chips. And as much as I enjoy making good ol’ Southern fare for my Derby party – this year we’re going Mexican. It’s a Cinco de Derby party this year. Which conveniently works well with the margarita I drink in my Derby glass. I’m well aware that those glasses are designed for mint juleps but I don’t like mint juleps at all. That realization was a crushing blow to my Derby fantasy by the way.
One of the recipes I’ll be making this weekend are these hand-held treats. One of those recipes torn from a magazine long ago that I’ve made before and thought were quite yummy.
Spiced Beef Empanadas
1 TB olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 TB ketchup
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 store-bought refrigerated pie crusts – don’t forget to set them on the counter about 30 min before you need them
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
lime juice or 1/4 tsp lime zest
1. Heat oven to 375 and heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook until soft – about three-five minutes. Add the beef and cook until done – another three-five minutes. Stir in the raisins, ketchup, cinnamon and a dash of salt & pepper. Turn off the heat and set aside.
2. Unroll your pie crusts and using a 2 inch round cookie cutter (or a glass approx the same size) cut circles out of your pie crusts. Scoop about a tablespoon of the beef mixture onto each circle. Brush the edges with water and fold them in half. Use a fork to seal/crimp the edges. Put them on a baking sheet. Brush them with the beaten egg and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
3. Put the sour cream in a small bowl and add a splash of lime juice or the zest. Serve for dipping.
Happy Cinco de Derby!