Spicy Duck Empanadas with Fire Sauce and Cilantro Cream

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min
  • Prep: 40 min
  • Inactive: 20 min
  • Cook: 45 min
  • Yield: Yield: 8 appetizer-size servings
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1 cup masa harina

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon Emeril's Southwest Seasoning, recipe follows

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup lard

1/2 cup ice water


2 cups cooked, shredded duck meat

2 teaspoons Emeril's Southwest Seasoning, recipe follows

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup fresh sweet corn kernels

1/4 cup seeded and chopped poblano peppers

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

4 turns freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons minced shallots

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 cups beef stock

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 large egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water

Cilantro Cream:

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the masa harina, flour, Southwest Seasoning, salt, and pepper; mix thoroughly. Cut the lard into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the water a little at a time, stirring gently. Knead the dough several times on a lightly floured surface, touching the dough as little as possible. Form the dough into a log about 12 inches long by 3 inches across and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
  3. In a skillet, heat the olive oil. Season the duck meat with 1 teaspoon of the Southwest Seasoning. When the pan is smoking hot, add the duck and stir-fry for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in the corn, peppers, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper and the remaining 1 teaspoon of Essence. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the shallots and garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup stock with the cornstarch and whisk into the filling mixture. Cook for 5 minutes over high heat. Remove from the heat and strain off the gravy. Return the gravy to a small saucepan and bring up to a gentle boil and let reduce for 5 minutes. Allow meat mixture to cool slightly.
  5. Divide the dough into 8 equal sections. Carefully roll each piece out between sheets of plastic wrap into a 5-inch circle. The dough must be handled with care to keep it from cracking. Brush the dough rounds with some of the egg wash. Mound the filling in the middle of each round of dough, fold over to form a half-moon pie shape, and crimp the edges with a fork. Brush the tops of the empanadas with more egg wash; place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. In a small mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice and fresh chopped cilantro together. Mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. To serve, spoon the gravy on the bottom of each plate. Place an empanada in the center of the plate. Dab the cilantro cream on top. Garnish with fresh cilantro and additional Essence, if desired.