Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"Irish" Hot Pockets

When I was trying to come up with a fitting name for this post I had to think twice about including the words "hot pockets". After recent unflattering news about the frozen convenience food was everywhere I looked, I wasn't too sure if this was going to attract my readers attention or turn them away. Good news though, my hot pockets have nothing in common with their grocery store namesake and you can safely cook and enjoy them for your own family. ;-)

St. Patrick's Day has been one of those holiday's that my kids, no matter how old they get, always look forward to because of the delicious food. My youngest started asking a couple of weeks ago if I was going to fix my Glazed Corned Beef and Colcannon, while my sixteen year old is all about the Irish Soda Bread. While all of these favorites, along with my St. Patrick's Day Chia Seed Pudding will be making an appearance on St. Patrick's Day, I'm always thinking of some new and interesting recipes to add to my collection for the holiday.

The idea for these Hot Pockets came to me the other day while in the kitchen and I thought they would be a tasty addition to our St. Patrick's Day menu. The filling is a fairly simple combination of fried cabbage and corned beef. The meat can either be bought from the deli counter at your local supermarket or you can use leftover cooked corned beef. The cabbage mixture gets topped with a sprinkle of Dubliner Cheese and then everything gets encased in a flaky puff pastry crust. A quick bake in the oven and you are all set with the tastiest hot pockets you've ever had. 

A homemade thousand island dipping sauce for the baked pastries adds the final touch, but if you prefer, mustard is also wonderful served alongside. The finished pockets are a great addition to any St. Patrick's Day celebration. Make them as appetizers for a party or simply add a salad on the side for a filling meal. If it's any indication, my boys inhaled them in 5 minutes flat and proclaimed they had a new St. Patrick's Day favorite.

"Irish" Hot Pockets
~makes 12 pockets~
(Print this recipe)

For the filling:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 oz. corned beef, finely cubed (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 head green cabbage, chopped (about 4 cups)
2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 pinch white sugar
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

For the pockets:
3 sheets puff pastry, thawed (1 1/2 boxes)
Prepared cabbage filling (see above)
3 oz. Dubliner cheese, finely grated
1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp. water for egg-wash
Flour for work surface
Thousand Island Dipping Sauce (Recipe to follow)

For the filling: In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the cubed corned beef and saute until slightly crispy and golden brown. 

Add the onions. Cook for 1 minute, then add the cabbage along with water, vinegar, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until cabbage wilts, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and set mixture aside to cool.

For the pockets: Pre-heat oven to 375 ° F. Line three baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper. 

Flour your work surface. Carefully unfold one sheet of puff pastry. Roll into a 10x12-inch rectangle. Using a ruler, cut the rectangle in half (you should now have two 5x12-inch rectangles), then cut each of those rectangles into 4 equal pieces, leaving you with eight 3x5-inch rectangles.

Place 4 rectangles on one of your prepared baking sheets. Add 2 scant tablespoons of the prepared cabbage filling right down the middle of your rectangles leaving about 1/4 inch all the way around, making sure not to over fill. Top the filling with a pinch of the grated cheese.

Brush all 4 edges of each rectangle with your prepared egg-wash. Place the remaining puff pastry rectangles on top and using a fork seal all the edges by crimping all the way around.

Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator while you work on the second and third sheet of puff pastry in the same manner. Place all the finished  pockets in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before proceeding.

Remove baking sheets one at a time from fridge and brush tops of the pockets with remaining egg wash. With a sharp knife, carefully cut 3 small vents in each pocket. Bake in your pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes (rotating once) or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving them with the Thousand Island Dipping Sauce.

Notes: I asked for a couple of slices of 1/4-inch corned beef at my deli, but leftover cooked corned beef would be equally wonderful.

The filling can be made a day ahead of time. Keep it in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the hot pockets.

I used Dubliner Cheese from Kerrygold. The flavor is reminiscent of cheddar, Swiss and Parmesan. If you can't find it, Swiss, Gruyere or a sharp white cheddar will also work.

The baked pockets are best eaten the same day and taste best right out of the oven (after a quick cooling time so you don't scorch the skin in your mouth. Trust me, I've been there).

The thousand island dipping sauce can also be made a day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.

 A Susi's Kochen und Backen Original Recipe 

Homemade Thousand Island Dipping Sauce
~makes about 3/4 cup~
(Print this Recipe)

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain (2%) Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. Ketchup
2 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish
1 Tbsp. red onion, finely diced
1 tsp. white vinegar
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
2-3 dashes Hot sauce (optional)

Add all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Taste and add additional salt if desired. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld.

Sauce slightly adapted from: Kitchen Treaty


  1. just wonderful, add a little something, served dripped in a light meat stock sauce, and broiled just to give it a little browning on top, great to serve at any top restaurant.

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