Thursday, September 20, 2012

Penelopes! (Otherwise Known As Empanadas)

I asked the Hubby what he wanted me to make for dinner and he said, "Penelopes!" I'm thinking, huh? He proceeds to describe the mysterious food item and it dawns on me... empanadas... yes, I see the similarity.  We had a good laugh over that one.  Now it's our joke and he's got me saying it too.

Side note:  a few readers have asked me to put the text of recipes into the posts and to keep showing the step by step photos. So, I happily complied. Since this is really two recipes in one, this post will be quite lengthy.  If you'd prefer to skip all the photos and details, jump right over to the condensed (and printer friendly!) versions on my recipage, here and here.

This is my first attempt at making Penelopes, er, Empanadas. We had them at a party a few weeks ago and they were so good, I knew I had to recreate them.  With my own twist, of course. These aren't just any old chicken stuffed into a piece of store bought pie crust run of the mill empanadas... no sir...

These are hand crafted Chicken Enchilada Empanadas to be precise.  Shredded chicken, cilantro, lime, fresh peppers, roasted corn, cheese, and a cumin-spiked white sauce. Stuffed into homemade dough, no less.  Appropriately awed?  I thought so. Let's move on.

Empanada Dough
Prep Time: 7 minutes (chill 30 minutes)
Keywords: appetizer bread entree snack

Ingredients (8 servings)
  • 1 Tbsp whole flax seed
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp cold butter
  • 6-10 Tbsp water
1. Grind flax seed; mix with the 3 Tbsp water in a small bowl. Set aside for about 5 minutes or until thickened to a gel like consistency.

2. Measure flours and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Cut butter into at least 12 pieces; add to bowl of food processor. Add flax "gel" and 4 Tbsp water.

3. Pulse for about 20 seconds, add 2 more Tbsp water. Pulse again. If dough looks dry, add another Tbsp water and pulse again. Repeat if necessary. Dough should appear damp and hold together when pressed between your fingers.

4. Form dough into a flat disc; wrap in plastic wrap or seal in a zip top bag and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (or up overnight).

5. After at least 30 minutes, remove dough from the refrigerator and unwrap. Roll out on a lightly floured (or non-stick) surface as thinly as possible.
6. Cut dough into rounds and use immediately or freeze in an airtight container. (If freezing, allow dough to thaw completely in the refrigerator overnight before use for best results)

Ok, so now that we've covered the dough basics, let's get to the filling...

Chicken Enchilada Empanadas
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: bake stove top appetizer entree lime chicken pepper cilantro
Ingredients (8 servings)
  • 2 Tbsp chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp. of ground coriander or cumin
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2-3 Tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion
  • 2 small green chile peppers (such as jalapenos, etc.)
  • 2 small sweet banana peppers
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 12 oz shredded colby jack cheese (or a mix of colby and cheddar)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 ear sweet corn
  • approx. 3 Tbsp oil or melted butter
Spice Mix
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt

1. In a small saucepan, whisk together flour and chicken broth until smooth. Whisk in a few tablespoons of milk. When mixture is smooth, slowly whisk in remaining milk. Place saucepan over medium low heat and whisk in ground coriander or cumin. Stir frequently.

2. Stir together Spice Mix in a small bowl.
3. Husk corn; brush lightly with oil and sprinkle with spice mix. Roast in a dry skillet over medium to medium-high heat; turn four times. Remove to a plate and allow to cool for a few minutes.

4. Meanwhile, stir together chicken, cilantro, green onion, chopped peppers, and any remaining spice mix.
5. Using a knife, carefully remove corn kernels from the cob. Discard cob.
6. By now, the sauce should be thickened to a pudding-like consistency. Stir the sauce into the chicken mixture. Add corn kernels, cheese and Greek yogurt.

Preheat oven to 375* F.
7. Roll out Empanada Dough into a thin sheet. Cut out circles (I used a clean 28 oz can). Spoon approximately 1 Tbsp filling into the center of each circle. Fold the circles in half over the filling and pinch edges together to form a seal.

8. Place empanada on a cookie sheet and repeat with remaining dough and filling. Brush empanadas lightly with oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with guacamole or salsa verde.
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Looking for a great way to use up leftover or rotisserie chicken?  These empanadas could very well be the solution to your leftovers dilemma.  They were certainly the solution to mine. The directions seem a little intense, but it's really not that complicated once you get going.  I hope the extra pictures help those visual learners out there. :-)  Enjoy!

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