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April 26th might be Pretzel Day, but here at Quirk, we're celebrating Pretzel WEEK. Check back for fun pretzel recipes all week long. Because hey, we're from Philadelphia. Pretzels are our thing. 

 “Tapas,” of Spanish origin, are appetizer-sized portions of anything you’d like for starters, snacks or meals. Have them at a bar or make some at home: these are as versatile as you can get. In honor of the crunchy pretzel, I've put some on these terrific tapas. 
 
 
 
Bake a tray of buttery puff pastries shaped into rounds. Slice them open like sliders. Fill them with the spiciest chorizos, more fiery ground pork with sriracha, pile lots of cheese on it. Seal it with a pretzel. You can go trendy with these tapas or go as traditional as you’d like with any filling desired. Whichever way you put together your creation, top it with pretty little pretzels for extra crunch. Pour the drinks and you’re in for some good "tapa" times!

Pretzel-Chorizo and Pork Tapas

Servings: 2 to 4

1 sheet (about 240 gm) frozen puff pastry
3 Tablespoons cooking oil
1 large (2 to 3 ounces) spicy Spanish chorizo, chopped
½ medium onion, chopped
½ pound ground pork
2 teaspoons sriracha sauce (or chili sauce)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup grated cheese, for topping
1 cup mini salted pretzels
10 large cocktail toothpicks, to hold sliders together

1. Prepare the puff pastry sliders. Thaw one sheet at room temperature. Spread on a dry surface. Using a cookie cutter, cut out round shapes (one large sheet can make 10 to 12 round pieces measuring 2-inches in diameter). Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Place the puff pastry rounds on a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Take out of the oven when done, cool pastry rounds on rack. 

2. In a small non-stick skillet, over medium high heat, add the cooking oil. Add the Spanish chorizos and cook for 1 to 2 minutes just to flavor the oil.  Remove the chopped chorizos and set aside.

3. Add the chopped onions to the skillet. Saute for 1 to 2 minutes till transparent. Add the ground pork. When pork turns to brown in about 5 minutes, add the sriracha (or chili sauce), red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook till pork is thoroughly done, about 15 minutes more. Remove from pan and drain pork on parchment paper or paper towels to remove excess oil.

4. To assemble: slice open the pastry puff rounds. Pile up a tablespoon each of the filling – cooked pork, chorizos, grated cheese. Close the pastry puff, top with a mini pretzel and place a cocktail toothpick on top to hold the ‘tapas’ in place.

Recipe notes: Sriracha sauce is a spicy type of hot sauce of Asian origin, usually with chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt. It can be found in the international section of major grocery stores.

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Elizabeth Quirino believes that “food brings the world together.” She loves to cook, develop recipes, photograph & write about her culinary adventures on her 2 blogs Asian in America & The Queen's Notebook. Outside the kitchen, Elizabeth paints watercolors, reads everything and ends every week with ballroom dancing. For great food stories find her on Facebook and follow Mango_Queen on Twitter.

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