Not only am I a big fan of breakfast, I’m also a big fan of empanadas – the wonderfully versatile Spanish pocket pie! I thought mini sausage, egg, and cheese empanadas would be a perfect brunch appetizer so I turned on the Al Green and let the empanada and the breakfast sandwich get together to give birth to this super awesome breakfast empanada.
Empanadas are super easy to make when you use refrigerated pie dough as the pastry. You can also use frozen empanada wrappers or make your own dough and mix up virtually any filling to put inside of them. This recipe would work equally well with bacon or ham instead of sausage – or leave out the meat all together for a vegetarian start to your day.
- 5 oz Hot Breakfast Sausage
- 3 Eggs
- ¼ Cup Milk
- ¼ Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
- 2 Refrigerated Pie Crusts
- Egg Wash (1 egg beaten with a splash of water)
- In a bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper.
- Brown and crumble the sausage in a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat like you would brown ground beef.
- Remove the pan from the heat and, using a slotted spoon, remove the cooked sausage from the pan and place on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.
- Reduce the heat to medium low, pour off all but one tablespoon of the fat in the pan, and place it back on the burner – your goal here is to cool the pan off a bit so you can cook your eggs gently.
- Pour the egg mixture in the pan and sprinkle the cheese on top. Leave it alone for about a minute while the bottom layer of eggs cooks a bit.
- Using long strokes with a rubber spatula, gently scramble the eggs. You should form some nice big curds when you do this. Leave the eggs alone for another minute or so to let the eggs on the bottom of the pan cook some more.
- Gently scramble the eggs again and keep an eye on them, scrambling every 30 seconds or so using long gentle strokes.
- When the eggs all come together and still look slightly moist, remove them from the hot pan. Carry over cooking will take them to the finish line.
- Mix the eggs and sausage in a large bowl to finish the filling.
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Unroll the pie crusts and use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut rounds out of the dough.
- Gather up the scraps and reroll the dough to the same thickness as it was when you got it out of the package and cut more rounds.
- Discard any scraps from the second cutting – if you reroll them again, they’ll start to get tough.
- Place a heaping teaspoon of filling just to the left of the center of each round and fold over to form a half circle.
- Being careful not to pierce the pocket, seal the edges of each empanada together using a fork.
- Put the empanadas on a sheet pan, brush with the egg wash and bake in a 375° oven for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown.
If you’d like to make the empanadas the main event, cut bigger rounds and use more filling for each empanada. The cook time will be about the same as everything inside the empanada is cooked, you’re just looking to brown the dough.
Empanadas freeze really well so make a bunch and pop them in the ice box for later use. Freeze them after filling and before egg washing in one layer until they harden and then transfer to a zip-top bag. Cook from frozen by removing them from the freezer, putting them on a sheet pan, giving them a quick egg wash and cooking them at 375° for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown and heated through.
The southern version of the empanada is called a fried pie and is usually filled with a sweet filling. While Mrs. Lovett may sell the worst pies in London, the best pies in Georgia are at Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge (IMHO).