Easy Baked Chicken Empanadas

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Easy Baked Chicken Empanadas

Since I have been on my crockpot chicken kick I have been experimenting with quite a few recipes! And judging by the posts so far…it’s been a Mexican kick as well! Anyhow, I made this recipe a few weeks ago before kitchen anatomy was even manifested. I shared the recipe via my Facebook page and it generated some interest, so I thought I’d add it here too! Luckily I had the foresight to take pictures.

This recipe kind of came about because I was on grocery store strike again and when Matt travels it’s often hard to convince myself to cook anything that requires more than 15 minutes effort…and that’s pushing it! Anyhow, I was scouring the contents of my refrigerator and saw that I had some refrigerated Pie Crust. It’s not a typical item I purchase and quite honestly I had forgotten all about it!

SO. There were a few things I knew:

  • I had pre-cooked shredded chicken to use
  • Refrigerated pie crust at my disposal
  • & because of my recent trip to Produce Junction (seriously if you are a PA or NJ resident, find the closest one near you NOW! I am so obsessed), I had 2lbs–I know seems like a lot, BUT they were only $2! pure amazingness!– of Poblano peppers to use

Next I checked my cheese draw. We always have an over abundance of cheese on hand….and jackpot! I found some Queso Fresco from the last Mexican adventure I whipped up in the kitchen. I gathered my ingredients and put them on the counter to formulate my game plan. I started to reflect on the flavors and channeled a breakfast frittata I had tried previously at one of my favorite Philly restaurants, Continental (delicious! try the TANG martinis! it’s a blast from the past with an adult kick!).

The flavors were really making sense to me and I was excited to create something new in my kitchen. Then it hit me–I was missing one thing to bring it all together, sweet corn. I was hitting all the flavors: salty from the queso fresco, sweet from the corn, and a bit spicy from the poblanos. They were little bite sized pieces of heaven! They’ll make a great appetizer for any party (they are good cold too–don’t judge me for hitting the fridge for leftovers later that night!) Next, I’ll work on a dipping sauce to bring to the party, but until then these little pockets of deliciousness can stand on their own.

The Ingredients:

  • Precooked chicken–to spice it up sprinkle with cayenne pepper, chili pepper, & cumin (perhaps some dried oregano if you have it!)
  • Refrigerated pie crust
  • Poblano peppers (or your fav)
  • Sweet onion
  • Corn–fresh, frozen–whatever you’ve got
  • Queso Fresco–or whatever is your preference for your tacos

How To:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (do it now! this recipe is quick!)

PREPARE THE FILLING:

  • Dice (small dice) your poblanos (feeling spicy? leave the ribs & seeds as part of your mixture! that’s where the heat from any pepper lives. not so much, remove & toss ’em)
  • Dice your sweet onion–the same size as your peppers please! We like consistency–gives things a better chance to mingle
  • Go ahead and throw them in a pan with a little oil, butter, cooking spray etc. and sauté them for about two minutes 
  • Lucky for you, if you precooked your chicken the hard part is over! Use a generous scoop (~1cup or so) of your precooked chicken and add it to the pepper & onion mixture
  • Bring the usual suspects to the mexican party–cayenne, chili pepper, & cumin and add it to your sauté mixture
  • Add the corn to heat through and you’re filling has been made! Super easy right!    

Preparing the Empanada Rounds
Rule 1 of stuffing anything, DO NOT OVER FILL! It will cause a not so yummy, atrocious mess!
  • Use a kitchen glass to cut the most perfect sized appetizer rounds; dip the rim of you glass in flour if you find the dough is sticking (of course if you want to make bigger empanadas, feel free to do that too!)
  • Once all your rounds are cut, set up your assembly line! Filling, cheese, & dough!
  • I have a “dumpling” maker (it’s plastic and has ridges to pleat your dough–if you have no idea what that is, keep reading…it can be done!) but if you don’t, get a little warm water and a fork
  • Use a small spoon, melon baller, small cookie scoop etc. to get about 1tbs of filling for each empanada round–consistency is key
  • Scoop a small amount of filling onto each round and use your finger to spread a small amount of water around the edge of the round–this helps create a good seal so all the yumminess stays on the inside where it belongs
  • Sprinkle some cheese on top of the filling–be careful not to overfill, refer to rule one!
  • Use your dumpling maker or fork to seal the round closed--continue until all filling or dough is used
  • Place dumpling on cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray or do an egg wash (1 egg + a little splash of milk) and lightly cover each empanada–this ensures they turn out deliciously brown (and since we eat with our eyes first, this is essential)
  • Pop ’em into your preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. 

Try not to scarf these all down before your guests arrive (or your husband arrives home from a business trip! whoops!). They are like I said, amazing little pockets of heaven! I hope you enjoy them!

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