My second born son requested my husband’s specialty -fried chicken- for his birthday meal earlier this month. Of course, we obliged, and then found ourselves with a pot full of oil that still had a little life in it. I didn’t feel much like filtering it, so dug around in the refrigerator for something else I could fry.
I rummaged around in the refrigerator and dug out some leftover ham from the holidays, a half a bag of shredded Swiss cheese, a bottle of grainy Dijon mustard, another of prepared horseradish, and two thawed packages of empanada wrappers. I knew I had struck gold. Within fifteen minutes, I had chopped the ham, tossed it with the cheese, stirred in some Dijon and horseradish with just a wee dab of mayonnaise, stuffed and crimped the empanada wrappers and popped those beautiful little pockets of goodness into the still hot oil.
I always find the best foods when I’m frugally creative, and this time was no exception.
First of all, DEEP FRIED SANDWICH POCKETS! Second, it combined ham and Swiss cheese into a hot, melty, crunchy package. Third, it was done almost as fast as it took me to think of the idea. Fourth, DEEP FRIED SANDWICH POCKETS! I’m sorry, it’s a little too easy for me to get carried away when it comes to melted cheese and ham and deep fried things. I was a little divided as to whether to call them sandwich pockets or empanadas (on account of the empanada wrappers) but since I can’t claim any kind of knowledge as to whether something is truly empanada-y or not, and I know a deep-fried sandwich when I see one, I opted for the latter. What do you think?
HERE is what happened when we broke one open. Then I died of happiness. The blend of grainy mustard, mayonnaise, and horseradish had formed a creamy dressing that blended perfectly with the ham and glorious melted Swiss cheese.
Now I know -because I asked you all on the Foodie with Family facebook page- that many of you have a little bit of nervousness when it comes to deep frying. I promise you, it’s not all that bad, really, but because I really want you to eat these, I’m including instructions on baking and shallow-frying. Will it be as crunchy? As beautiferous? As magnificent? Not quite, but it’ll still be darned good if you bake or shallow-fry them.
Bonus: The un-fried or baked sandwich pockets freeze beautifully and having a stash of these in the freezer is like having a party ready to go!
When would you want to serve these? (I’d answer “when WOULDN’T you want to serve these, but hey… I get it…) How about a Superbowl party? Or any game day? Or any party?These would make a kid leap for joy to find these in a school lunch or for after school snack. They would’ve made ME leap for joy if I found these in my lunch when I was working outside the home. Heck. They made me leap for joy when I made them the other day. They’re a fantastic picnic food for warmer weather. In the grand tradition of hand-held meat pies and such, these could be wrapped in foil and tucked in a coat pocket for winter hikes, snow-shoeing, and cross-country skiing.
Whether you think of them as fried sandwich pockets or empanadas, you’re bound to think of them as delicious!