In Latin cultures, Christmas Eve is known as Noche Buena, and it's a night for big meals, big celebrations, and big gatherings. For our family, a Honey Baked Ham was always part of the feast. This recipe for ham-stuffed empanadas finds its inspiration in those lively holiday traditions as well as in some key moments from my upbringing.
I grew up in the Bronx in New York City, but every summer, my mother made sure I experienced a part of my heritage in the Dominican Republic. For three or four months, I stayed with my extended family in the countryside, or what we fondly called "El Campo" (the camp). That place always had such a rich sense of community. Spending time on my family's land made me extraordinarily appreciative of fresh herbs (like achiote, oregano, and cilantro), fruits (such as passion fruit, mangoes, and guavas), and other tropical produce (like cacao, tamarind, and avocado) because they all grew at El Campo. Those childhood summers shaped the person I am and how I cook and bake now, blending my culture with classic techniques in a fun and playful style.
These empanadas repurpose holiday leftovers in an inventive way. I take that traditional ham and cocoon pieces of it in a light and airy dough to make empanadas that hit on all the right notes of savory and sweet. After Noche Buena, I pair them with rice and beans for an easy lunch. They are a delicious way to bring core memories to life, especially when I'm not able to be with my family.
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
**Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.
(-)Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.