Monday, May 21, 2018

Mexican Hot Pockets

I have waxed poetic about my love for Disney Cruise Line's Mexican Hot Pockets on more than one occasion. I'm not the only one obsessed with this breakfast buffet offering at Cabanas. It's a favorite among many Disney Cruisers. It's not offered every morning, but on those extra special mornings when its served I always load up my plate!

Mexican Hot Pockets at Cabanas

I managed to find a recipe for Mexican Hot Pockets courtesy of Disney Cruise Line, however just like anything at a buffet it's made in bulk, and the recipe I found was for 10 pounds of ground beef. Needless to say, it needed to be scaled down significantly. The recipe also omitted some important details, including a recipe for their cheese sauce, and the size and number of tortillas required.

I managed to reduce the recipe to use only 1 pound of ground beef (a much more manageable quantity), and used my culinary knowledge and experience to work out the rest of the details on my own the best I could.

I also adapted the amazing cheese sauce recipe used for the cheese fries at my beloved Shake Shack. It's definitely not the same as the "plastic cheese" that Disney uses, but it's delicious and it works.

Folding in the edges burrito-style makes these a bit less messy to assemble and cook. You can trim the ends afterwards, and serve them just the way they do on Disney Cruise Line.

Like I said, there are some major adaptations here to make this work for the home cook. I think they turned out great! I'm pretty sure Disney uses a higher fat content ground beef, because their filling seems juicier than mine, but I tend to stick with relatively lean ground beef for all my ground beef needs. Use whatever you prefer.

Mexican Hot Pockets
Serves 4
(Hot pockets adapted from Disney Cruise Line; cheese sauce adapted from Shake Shack)

Mexican Hot Pockets:
1 pound ground beef
1 ounce diced red onion
2 ounces diced green bell pepper (a little less than half a pepper)
2 ounces diced red bell pepper (a little less than half a pepper)
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Pinch chili flakes
Kosher salt
2 ounces (scant 1/2 cup) drained and rinsed canned kidney beans (the original recipe calls for baked beans, which seems odd, so I replaced it with kidney beans)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated cheddar cheese
4 burrito size flour tortillas (10-inch diameter)

Cheese Sauce:
1/2 teaspoon vegetable or canola oil
1 (1/2-inch-thick) slice onion
1 slice jalapeno (I used a slice of picked jalapeno since I didn't have any fresh--it worked fine!)
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
Pinch kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon white wine
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup (a little over 1 ounce) grated cheddar cheese
1/3 cup (a little over 1 ounce) grated American cheese (I actually hand-chopped a couple slices of American cheese from the deli counter)

For the filling: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute beef with onions and peppers until beef is no longer pink. Add tomato paste, cumin, paprika, chili flakes, and salt to taste. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes until fully cooked through, and any excess liquid is evaporated.

Remove from the heat, add the beans and cheese, and mix until thoroughly combined. Allow the mixture to cool.

For the cheese sauce: Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, jalapeno, peppercorns, and salt, and cook, stirring often until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and wine, and cook until the liquid has almost completely evaporated. Stir in the cream. Remove the pan from the heat and let the cream steep for 30 minutes to build flavor.

Return the saucepan to the stove and heat over medium heat until very warm, but not boiling. Meanwhile put the cheeses into a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the hot cream through a strainer (to remove the solids) over the cheeses, stirring until the cheese melts, and the sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes. Sauce will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week. You can easily reheat the sauce in a microwave or over a pot of gently simmering hot water. Makes about 1 cup.

To assemble: Divide the meat mixture onto the four tortillas into a strip down the length of one side (off center), leaving an inch or two at either end empty. Roll the tortilla around the filling from one end to the other, folding over the edges to seal in the sides (like a burrito).

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, add the rolled tortillas seam-side down to the pan (in batches if necessary), and griddle until crispy/brown, rotating the rolls to crisp on all sides and heat the filling through (lower the heat if it's browning too fast, or else it may not heat the filling before the edges are crisped).

Remove from the heat, and use a serrated knife to trim the ends, then cut the trimmed roll in half crosswise, and then cut each piece again in half on an angle, to yield 4 pieces that are flat on one side and angled on the other. Repeat with the remaining rolls to yield 16 pieces. Discard the trimmed ends (or eat them if you want). Garnish with cheese sauce, salsa, and cilantro (if desired).


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