05 March 2010

Chicken Empanadas, Part 1

Earlier this week I was wandering through the frozen foods section at Fiesta just enjoying the wide variety of international items they carry. (Yes, I do enjoy just wandering through the grocery store... and yes, I admit I do it on a regular basis.)  While walking past the Latin Food cases a little round package caught my eye... empanada wrappers!  I couldn't resist and purchased a package of 10 on a whim.

I love a good empanada. 

Not the fake frozen ones you can buy in the grocery store and zap in the microwave, but the fresh, hot, just-prepared empanadas like they sell at Marini's Empanada House.  (If you live anywhere near this place and have never visited, promise me you will.  And soon.)

We used to live less than 2 blocks from this establishment and any time R would ask me where I wanted to grab a bite to eat, Marini's was my request!  Unfortunately we didn't end up going there every time I suggested it... R had some weird hang up about not eating the same meal 4 times a week.

The Chicken "Diablo" (2 please!) is my favorite savory empanada and for something sweet I almost always order one of their Dulce de Leche (w/cream cheese) dessert empanadas.  Although the Apple Gabriela isn't too shabby ...

Last night's ho-hum meal provided me with tons of leftover chicken to shred and use in an empanada filling.  Since Marini's does not publish their secret family recipes (darn them), I quickly did a search and came upon a recipe that sounded like it would be pretty close to what I was aiming for.  It suggested making the filling the night before, allowing the flavors to marry completely before actually assembling and baking the empanadas the next day.

Filling Ingredients:

Chicken, Onions, Garlic, Hard Boiled Eggs, Sugar, Cumin, Paprika, S & P, Chili Powder, Cayenne Pepper and...



Toss the onions, garlic, sugar and spices in a hot skillet with some oil and cook on low for 15 to 20 minutes.

While cooking the onions I stupidly set my microfiber dish towel down on the stove.  Very quickly I smelled something 'plasticky' in the air and noticed some smoke coming from the towel... oops.

I melted the darn thing! 

After scraping melted microfiber plastic off of my glass-top stove, I was able to re-focus my attention on the empanada filling.

Once the onions carmelized it was time to stir in the chicken.

At this point the mixture seemed way too dry and like it was missing something...

so I stirred in about 8 oz of crushed tomatoes and that made me much happier.

I hope I don't later regret that decision.  But nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

On the schedule for tomorrow:
1. stir in chopped green olives and hard boiled eggs
2. fill empanada wrappers
3. try to figure out how to do that cool, fold-over, pinch thing along the edges...wish me luck

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