SHERRIED MUSHROOM EMPANADAS (for eight to ten as part of a tapas buffet)
2 medium onions, chopped fine
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1-1/2 pounds mushrooms, chopped fine
2 small red bell peppers, chopped fine
a 6 ounce piece of serrano ham or prosciutto, trimmed and chopped fine
1/3 cup cream Sherry
½ cup packed fresh parsley leaves, washed, spun dry and minced
3 tablespoons fine, dry bread crumbs
a 17-1/4 ounce package of frozen puff pastry sheets (2 pastry sheets), thawed
an egg wash made by beating 1 large egg with 1 teaspoon water
1.In a 12 inch, heavy skillet cook onions in butter over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened (4 to 5 minutes). Stir in mushrooms and bell peppers and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and mixture begins to brown (10 to 12 minutes). Add ham and Sherry and cook, stirring, until liquid is evaporated (5 to 6 minutes).
2. In a bowl stir together mushroom mixture, parsley, bread crumbs and salt and pepper to taste and cool, uncovered.
3. Preheat oven to 400*.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 pastry sheet to a 14 by 10 inch rectangle. Halve rectangle lengthwise with a long, sharp knife and spread about half of the mushroom filling on 1 half, leaving a 1 inch border all around. Brush edges of mushroom-topped pastry with some egg wash and put remaining pastry half on top of filling. Crimp edges of dough together with fork tines and cut several slits in the empanada with a sharp knife. Carefully transfer empanada with 2 spatulas to a large baking sheet, leaving room for a second empanada, and brush with some egg wash. Make another empanada with remaining pastry sheet, filling and egg wash in the same manner.
5. Put empanadas in the middle of the oven and reduce the temperature to 375*. Bake empanadas until golden, about 35 minutes. (Empanadas may be made 1 day ahead, cooled completely on a rack and chilled, wrapped in foil. Reheat empanadas, uncovered, on a baking sheet in a preheated 375* oven until very hot, about 6 minutes.)
6. With a serrated knife, cut empanadas into ¾ inch slices.