- Yield: 7 empanadas
For the Bacon Jam
- 1 pound applewood-smoked bacon
- 1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup freshly brewed strong coffee
- 2 tablespoons Coca-Cola
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
For the Empanadas
- 1 recipe Cornmeal Crust, unbaked
- 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
- 1 large egg yolk, beaten with ½ teaspoon water, for egg wash
How to Make It
To Make the Bacon Jam
- Roughly chop the bacon into 1-inch pieces. Render the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until the edges start to turn brown but the bacon is still soft. Drain the rendered bacon fat by setting a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and spooning the bacon and rendered fat into the sieve. Let the bacon sit in the sieve while you caramelize the onions.
- Add the sliced onions to the skillet, then add 1 tablespoon of the rendered bacon fat and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and starting to brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Add the garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, coffee, Coke, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup, stir, and bring to a light boil. Add the drained bacon and bring back to a light boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low. You want to keep a low, steady simmer to reduce the liquid and thicken it without burning the jam. The process of reduction can take as long as 1 hour. If the jam becomes too dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water.
- Remove the bacon jam from the heat, add the bourbon, and let cool for 20 minutes. Depending on your preference, you can use it as is or process the jam in a food processor to a less chunky consistency. Once it has cooled, you can put the jam in an airtight container and store it for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. To make the Empanadas
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Remove the cornmeal crust from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for 15 minutes.
- Lightly flour a smooth work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out ⅛ inch thick. Using a 4-inch biscuit cutter or tart mold, cut the dough into 7 circles.
- Place 1 tablespoon bacon jam and about 2 tablespoons shredded cheese in the center of each round. (You will have extra bacon jam.) Fold each dough round in half over the filling, making sure you don’t tear the dough or push the filling to the edges, and, using your fingers, press the edges together and then crimp them with the tines of a fork to seal them.
- Place the empanadas on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the empanadas from the oven and brush them with the egg wash, then bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown. Serve the empanadas warm.