Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Baked Chicken Mini-Empanadas

One of the fun things about cooking is figuring out what to do with various leftovers that at first glance don’t appear to go together at all. Being adventurous with how you mix all those seemingly unrelated ingredients can turn out delectable results...but just as often you might think Wow, I’ll never try that again! On a recent forage into my refrigerator, I happened across some leftover barbecue chicken, brown rice, cheese sticks, and pie crusts. What to do? Previously, I had made these siopao snacks with barbecue chicken, but I didn’t have any biscuits. The pie crust made me think of strudel, but the chicken would have barely filled one. However, the idea of stuffed pie crust led me to think of a childhood favorite - the pasty, pronounced PASS-tee. A hearty filling surrounded by a pastry crust - yum! Then I thought, why not make miniature versions? And then I thought Ooh, maybe I’ll call it an empanada...sounds fancier! The two dishes could actually be considered cousins, as they both are essentially dough or pastry stuffed with a variety of meat, cheese, vegetables, etc., with pasties originating from Cornwall, England, and empanadas originating from Portugal and Spain. Pasties are baked, while empanadas can be baked or fried. Bolstering my resolve to consider these treats as empanadas is the fact that pasties typically contain vegetables - which I did not have. So, “empanada” it was!

Ingredients: (makes ~18 empanadas)

~½ cup cooked rice
~¼ cup shredded cheese (I had a Colby-Jack cheese stick, which turned out to be about ¼ cup after it was chopped up to small pieces)
2 9” pie crusts
1 egg

Heat oven to 350°F.

Mix chicken, rice, and cheese together. Roll out pie crusts, and cut them each into thirds both vertically and horizontally.


In a small bowl, whisk the egg. Brush egg along the edges of each piece of pie crust to help seal the empanadas. Place ~1 TBSP of the chicken mixture on each piece, then fold the dough over diagonally and pinch the sides together. Use fork tines to crimp and seal.


Place on a parchment  lined baking sheet and brush tops with egg.

Bake ~20 min until golden brown. Let cool before might have a hard time stopping with just one!



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