Make Ahead Chorizo and Manchego Bites
Growing up my parents were always hosting family and friends at our house for everything from small dinner parties to family weddings for 120 people. No matter the occasion we always try to cook everything ourselves which can be a feat around working and family responsibilities. Because of this, I am always coming up with new recipes that we can make in advance, freeze and bake from frozen, like these delicious chorizo and manchego bites wrapped in puff pastry. Whether you are planning to have people over or if friends just stop by for game night or over the holidays these bites are at the ready, no need to defrost, just bake straight from frozen, this way they taste fresh each time you make them!
Makes 96 pieces
Your Time: 45 minutes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup sliced)
1/4 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup diced roasted piquillo pepper (about 3 ounces roasted pepper)
5 ounces Spanish chorizo, casing removed and roughly chopped
6 ounces Manchego cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (softer Manchego, aged around 3 months)
One 1-pound box frozen puff pastry, defrosted (2 sheets of puff pastry per box)
Pimento stuffed manzanilla olives, optional
Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and when the oil is hot add the onion. Cook the onion for about 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened and begins to caramelize. Stir in the parsley and lower the heat to medium-low. Continue to cook the parsley and onions another 5 minutes or until the parsley is fried and the onions are caramelized. Stir in the diced pepper and sauté 1-2 minutes more or until all the excess liquid from the peppers has evaporated. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add the sauteed onion mixture to a food processor along with the diced chorizo and Manchego. Pulse the mixture together until all the ingredients are finely ground and completely combined. The mixture will have the look and texture of raw ground meat (even though this mixture is completely cooked). Set the mixture aside.
Dust a clean work surface lightly with bench flour. Roll out the first piece of puff pastry into a 15x10-inch rectangle. Using a paring knife or pizza cutter, cut the puff pastry into 3 pieces, every 5-inches on the longer side, to create three 5x10-inch pieces. Rotate one piece of puff pastry so the long side is parallel with you and the edge of the cutting board. Gently press 1/3 cup of the chorizo mixture into the center of the piece of puff pastry leaving about 1-inch border on the two long edges and about ¼-inch border on the shorter edges. Starting from the edge closest to you, roll the puff pastry into a tight, 10-inch long log, just like rolling a sushi roll but without a mat. Place the log seal side down on a lightly floured baking sheet and repeat this process with the remaining two pieces of puff pastry. Next roll out the second sheet of puff pastry in the exact same way and repeat making 3 more rolls, using the remainder of the filling.
Once you have made all 6 rolls, cut each roll into about 16-18 pieces, approximately every ½-inch. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lift one bite so one of the cut sides is facing up. Gently pinch the bottom so the puff pastry seals around the chorizo and then place the sealed side down on the baking sheet. Press lightly on the top so the top opens slightly like a pinwheel and exposes the chorizo filling. Repeat with the remaining chorizo bites and then place in the freezer for at least 4 hours to freeze completely. Once the bites are frozen on the sheet tray transfer to a zip top bag, removing any excess air from the bag and store for up to 3 months.
When ready to serve, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 1-2 baking sheets with parchment paper, depending on if you plan on baking all of the bites now or will save some for another occasion. Evenly place the bites on the sheet tray, leaving about ½-inch of space between each bite and bake for 20 minutes, or until the puff pastry is golden brown and cooked through and the chorizo is caramelized and puffed over the top. If you prefer to bake the bites immediately, and not freeze them, then bake at 375 degrees for 18 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately as is, or cut a pimento stuffed olive in half and use a small skewer to serve the olive over the top.