I'm going to start out by saying that my recipe for chicken empanadas is not authentic, but it's healthier than the traditional method, easy to make, and it tastes really good.
I love empanadas. They are often savory (filled with beef, pork, or chicken), but sometimes sweet (filled with fruit and/or cheese). They are like little savory pies that can be eaten by hand. They're similar to Jamaican beef patties or even mini chicken pot pies. I love them as an appetizer or I even eat a few of them as a quick lunch. Traditionally, empanadas are stuffed and then fried. I love fried food as much as the next person, but in the interest of cutting a few calories, keeping my kitchen cleaner, and saving myself from... myself, I baked my empanadas.
When I joined the ShopRite blogger panel I recieved a welcome package full of ShopRite goodies, including a Three Bean and Roasted Corn Salsa. I enjoyed a bit of this salsa with some blue corn chips, but then decided to try it as a cooking sauce. I decided to make chicken empanadas.
I didn't have ground chicken, so I ground up 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts in my food processor. You could absolutely use pre-ground chicken instead. You could also use ground turkey or ground beef... whatever floats your boat.
In addition to the Three Bean and Roasted Corn Salsa, I also used my husband's favorite condiment, Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce. E loves this stuff. I love it because it's not as pungent as traditional hot sauce. It has a smooth, smoky heat.
The filling consists of ground chicken, salsa, a little salt and pepper, and a few dashes of Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce. I made the filling the day before I made the empanadas.
Assembling the empanadas is very easy. I used premade empanada pastry. You can absolutely make your own and I'm sure they would taste delicious. I admit that I'm not a fan of rolling and cutting anything (from pie crust to cut out cookies), so I took a little help from Goya.
I put a few tablespoons of filling on each pastry and sealed them with a fork...
I baked the empanadas (although you could fry them) for 20 minutes and then let them cool a bit...
The pastry was flaky on the outside and chewy on the inside and the filling was hearty and just spicy enough. We ate these all within two days, but you could absoultely make these in advance and freeze them. Sometimes I freeze them and then use them for lunches on random days when I don't have any leftovers. Chicken empanadas are much more fun thana boring old sandwich!
a Keeley original
yield 10 large empanadas
1 pound of ground chicken
salt, to taste
Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce, to taste
1 cup of salsa (I used ShopRite Roasted Corn and Three Bean Salsa)
10 frozen empanada pastry rounds (I used Goya), you can also make your own
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray a pan with non-stick spray. Over medium high heat, cook the chicken, breaking it up into small pieces until all pieces are cooked. Season the chicken with a bit of salt and pepper. Stir in the salsa. Stir in a few splashes of Chipotle Pepper Sauce. Taste for seasonings. Adjust to your taste.
Lay empanada pastry on the countertop to thaw. Allow chicken filling to cool for at least 15 minutes before filling pastry. Fill each pastry with 2-3 tablespoons of chicken filling. Dip your finger in water and trace the edge of the pastry with water and fold the pastry over to seal (like a semi-circle). Seal the edges with the tines of a fork. Repeat for all 10 pastries.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a cooling rack. Enjoy, or refrigerate (or freeze) and reheat for a snack on another day.