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Chicken Empanadas

Flavorful Chicken Empanadas: A Taste of Latin America

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Dive into the vibrant and savory world of Latin American cuisine with our delectable Chicken Empanadas recipe. These golden pockets of goodness are filled with tender chicken, aromatic spices, and a hint of heat, all wrapped in a flaky pastry crust. Perfect for parties, picnics, or a satisfying weeknight dinner, these empanadas are sure to become a favorite in your recipe repertoire. So roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and let’s embark on a culinary adventure together!

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Ingredients:

Meat:

  • 3 cups Chicken, cooked and shredded

Produce:

  • 1 1/2 tsp Chipotle pepper, ground dried
  • 2 tbsp Currants, dried
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp Mexican oregano, dried
  • 1/2 cup Poblano pepper, diced
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans Tomatoes with green chile peppers, drained
  • 1 Yellow onion, diced

Refrigerated:

  • 2 large Eggs

Baking & Spices:

  • 3 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 pinch Cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp White sugar

Oils & Vinegars:

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil

Nuts & Seeds:

  • 1/2 tsp Cumin, ground

Dairy:

  • 12 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup Pepper jack cheese, grated

Liquids:

  • 2/3 cup Water

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Filling: In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and poblano pepper, cooking until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in minced garlic, chipotle pepper, cumin, dried oregano, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Cook for an additional 2 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add Chicken and Tomatoes: Add the cooked shredded chicken and drained tomatoes with green chile peppers to the skillet. Stir to combine, allowing the flavors to meld together. Cook for 5-7 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  3. Make the Dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour, kosher salt, and white sugar. Cut in chilled butter using a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add cold water, mixing until the dough comes together. Divide the dough into equal portions and shape into discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Assemble the Empanadas: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Roll out each dough disc on a lightly floured surface into a circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Place a spoonful of the chicken filling in the center of each circle, leaving room around the edges. Sprinkle grated pepper jack cheese and dried currants over the filling.
  5. Seal and Crimp: Fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape. Use a fork to press and seal the edges, crimping tightly to prevent any filling from leaking out during baking.
  6. Bake: Place the assembled empanadas on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and brush the tops of the empanadas with the egg wash for a golden finish. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and crisp.
  7. Serve and Enjoy: Remove the empanadas from the oven and let them cool slightly before serving. Garnish with fresh cilantro or salsa, if desired, and enjoy these savory delights!

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Fruit Variation: For a touch of sweetness, you can add diced apples or raisins to the filling mixture.
  • Vegetarian Option: Substitute the chicken with black beans or cooked lentils for a vegetarian-friendly version of these empanadas.
  • Spice Level: Adjust the amount of chipotle pepper and cayenne pepper to suit your taste preferences. For a milder version, reduce the amount of spice, or omit it altogether for a mild flavor profile.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

Q: Can I use pre-cooked rotisserie chicken for this recipe? A: Yes, pre-cooked rotisserie chicken works well in this recipe. Simply shred the chicken and incorporate it into the filling mixture.

Q: Can I freeze the assembled empanadas before baking? A: Yes, you can freeze the assembled empanadas on a baking sheet until firm, then transfer them to a resealable freezer bag. When ready to bake, place them directly from the freezer onto a baking sheet and add a few extra minutes to the baking time.

Q: How long do these empanadas last? A: These empanadas are best enjoyed fresh but can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.

Q: Can I make mini empanadas instead of large ones? A: Absolutely! Simply roll out the dough into smaller circles and adjust the filling accordingly for bite-sized empanadas perfect for appetizers or snacks.

Keto and Low Carb Versions:

For a keto or low-carb version of these Chicken Empanadas, here are some modifications you can make:

  • Almond Flour Dough: Substitute almond flour for all-purpose flour to create a low-carb dough.
  • Cheese Crust: Instead of traditional pastry dough, use a mixture of shredded mozzarella cheese and almond flour to create a cheese-based crust.
  • Low-Carb Filling: Use cooked shredded chicken, diced bell peppers, onions, and spices for a flavorful, low-carb filling.

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Chicken Empanadas are a versatile and delicious dish that brings together the flavors of Latin America in a convenient handheld package. Whether you’re hosting a party, planning a family dinner, or simply craving a savory snack, these empanadas are sure to satisfy. With a golden, flaky crust and a flavorful chicken filling, they’re bound to become a favorite in your household. So don’t wait any longer – whip up a batch of these irresistible empanadas and let your taste buds take a trip south of the border!

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