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.
- 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
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
- 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!