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Furnace Creek Inn Rattlesnake Empanada

Source: Chef Michelle ?Mike? Hanson, Furnace Creek Inn, Death Valley, California

1 pound boneless rattlesnake meat
3 ounces raw chicken meat or chicken fat, used as a binder
1/2 cup each red, yellow and green bell peppers, chopped fine
1/2 cup nopalitos (cactus), julienned
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/4 cup lime juice
2 boxes puff pastry sheets
1/2 cup shredded Colby cheese
Egg wash (well-beaten eggs)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grind rattlesnake and chicken together (should look like ground pork when finished).

In a skillet, saut? peppers, cactus and meat together about 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients (minus the pastry and cheese). Cook for 15 to 20 minutes more, drain and let cool.

Add cheese to well drained mixture.

Spread out pastry sheet and cut into 4-inch circles with a biscuit or tart cutter (a tuna can also makes a great cutter).

Brush with egg wash and place some of the mixture in the middle of the pastry circle. Fold over and crimp edges closed. Bake for about 12 minutes.

Served on a bed of lettuce with freshly made guacamole, diced bell peppers and onion. The empanada can be drizzled with crema or sour cream.

Serve with a dip such as salsa, guacamole and sour cream mixed together or ranch dressing.

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