Friday, June 15, 2012

Easy Chicken and Veggie Empanadas

Easy Entertaining with Empanadas

I was looking for some new ways to use leftover roasted chicken - a staple of my diet, especially when the weather is cool enough for me to use the oven.  One of the ways I discovered to use leftover chicken is in the appetizer course.  From BBQ chicken pizza or any kind of flatbread pizza to creamy croquettes, to it being a common topping for tostada, a main ingredient in my Italian style chicken salad sammies, to making a pulled chicken BBQ sandwich, and a great way to give grilled cheese a hearty protein boost, I'm exploring every possible way to use the delicous roasted chicken that I tend to have in my fridge.

After a second great dinner of empanadas, I cannot wait to serve these to friends and family when I host my monthly Sunday lunch.  The filling for these is a total do-ahead and the dough comes together quickly and effortlessly so this will be an ideal appetizer for entertaining.  I love any recipe for entertaining that I can do all or part of ahead of time and this is definitely my latest go-to and they pair well with cocktails, beer, or a pitcher of my classic mango sangria with moscato.

1 C. self rising flour ($.25)
1/2 T. sugar ($.05)
1/2 T. shortening ($.10)
1/4 C. warm water (free)

1 egg white, whisked with 1 tsp water ($.10)
Frying oil

1 T. olive oil ($.10)
1 T. butter ($.10)
1 small white onion, minced ($.05)
1/4 medium bell pepper, minced (any color, I used orange) ($.10)
6 white button mushrooms or 1 portabella, rough chopped ($.25)
pinch of Mexican oregano
salt and pepper to taste ($.05)
3/4 C. roasted chicken ($.30)
1 T. parmesan ($.05)
1/4 C. shredded sharp cheddar ($.20)
To Make the Dough:
Combine the sugar and water til sugar is dissolved.
Cut shortening into the flour, then combine the water with the flour, working until a soft dough starts to form.
Roll out on floured surface and roll dough to 1/4" thickness.

Use your smallest biscuit cutter (2" size) and cut out 20-24 circles. Dust the circles again with flour and roll out to roughly double their original size.

To Make the Filling - note that this filling is similar to making the filling for croquettes, the recipes can be swapped out easily, just be lighter on the seasonings with the empanadas:

Heat olive oil in a medium sized pan over low heat, add in butter and melt completely.  Stir in minced onion and sweat 3-5 minutes.  Stir in pepper and mushroom, season well with salt and pepper.
Lightly shred the chicken and add this to the sautee veggie blend, heating through.  Stir in parmesan and Mexican oregano, another pinch of salt and pepper, to taste.  Cool 10-15 minutes before using the filling in the empanadas.  Filling that is too warm makes the dough harder to work with.

Assemble the Empanadas:
Brush the dough with egg wash, add 1/2 T. each cheese and chicken, fold in half and press edges together using a fork to seal completely.

Fry in oil at 350 for 1-2 minutes per side, until the dough is golden and the empanadas are puffed and firm.  Drain on paper towel and serve with guacamole and sour cream.

Yields: 20 mini empanadas
Cost: $1.70
Cost per empanada: $.09

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