Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Chicken Chorizo Empanadas


Recently, good friends hosted our gourmet group and the theme was "Una Noche Española", a Spanish night.  Among other things, we enjoyed a wonderful seafood Paella, and this delicious appetizer, which was our assigned contribution to the meal.  See below for my first experience eating Paella :-)


An empanada is a stuffed pastry filled with a combination of meat, cheese, potatoes and other ingredients, which are either baked or fried.  Served in many parts of Spain and Latin American, the name is derived from the Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap. Hot pockets, Strudel, Knish, Calzone, Pasty, Pierogi, Samosa, Borek, Kibbeh, are just a few other names for similar recipes from various parts of the world. Some of you may know more examples to add to that list.  


Even though the entire recipe was received in our 'menu packet', I did quite a bit of research on dough recipes, empanada fillings and how to made the beautiful fold around the edge of the empanada (you can find a great tutorial here).  I wanted to 'lighten' the recipe just a bit and was able to find chicken chorizo sausage at a specialty poultry store nearby that makes a variety of sausages using fresh, ground chicken.

I had never made empanadas before so this was a delicious learning experience for me!  I made my own dough but you could certainly save a lot of time by buying pre-made empanada discs or refrigerated pie crust and cutting your own circles.
 

The blender avocado sauce that was included with our recipe was really delicious!  There is quite a bit of lime juice in it that so I think you could easily prepare it a day ahead.  It was very creamy and fresh tasting and would taste wonderful in many recipes.

If you feel like spending Una Noche Española, I highly recommend these empanadas!  There are many do-ahead components if you plan ahead.

Although I never had empanadas in Spain, it was where I first ate and fell in love with Paella and the first dish I learned how to make after a trip to the Costa del Sol a few years before I met my husband. Long ago :)  From top left, the beautiful hillside village of Mijas, the obligatory photo with a flamenco dancer in Torremolenos, overlooking a fountain inside the beautiful Alhambra in Granada, and a horse-drawn carriage outside of La Malaguena in Marbella. 


Chicken Chorizo Empanadas

Printable Recipe

Makes 12 Empanadas, which will serve 4-6 people as an appetizer. 

Dough:

Note: You may also use Goya pre-cut empanada dough or even a box of pre-made refrigerated pie crust purchased from your grocer if you need to save time.

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose sifted flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg
1/3 cup ice water
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar or plain vodka

Place sifted flour and salt into a large bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender (or your fingers) until it resembles coarse the mixture resembles small, pea-size lumps.

With a fork whisk the egg, water, and vinegar or vodka together in a small bowl. Add this to the flour mixture, stirring with the fork just until incorporated.

Turn out dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press together. Gently kneed with heel of your hand two or three times to bring dough together. Flatten dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap or zipper bag. Chill at least 1 hour.

Dough can be made a day ahead.

When ready to made empanadas, roll out dough into an 18-inch rectangle.  Using a 3" round cutter, cut 12 discs from the dough.  Place on a baking sheet in a single layer, using parchment paper to cover and separate discs.

Filling:

1 tablespoon grape seed, corn or other neutral flavored oil
1/2 white onion, finely diced – about 1 cup
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced - about 1/2 cup
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 Bay Leaf
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lb. chicken chorizo, or pork, if preferred
12 ounces of grated Monterrey Jack or Mexican Blend cheese
4 ounces of crumbled queso fresco cheese

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Remove the chorizo from the casings and drop into the pan and separate with a wooden spoon while sauteing until cooked through and crumbled, about 10 minutes.  Remove the cooked chorizo from the pan with a slotted spoon as set aside.  Add the diced onion and red pepper and cook until they are soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic, bay leaf, oregano and salt and stir to combine.  Add in the cooked chorizo sausage and stir together.  Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended.  Remove from heat and cool then remove bay leaf. 

This mixture can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, covered, until ready to assemble empanadas.

Mix the grated Monterrey Jack or Mexican Blend cheese with the crumbled queso fresco. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  Can be made a day ahead.

Avocado Sauce:

3 ripe avocados
4 limes, juiced – a little over ½ cup of juice
1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and white veins removed
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a blender; it helps the blending process if the avocados are in small chunks and the cilantro is lightly chopped. I also recommend crushing the garlic before putting it in the blender to ensure no one gets a surprise large piece of garlic.
Blend until you have a smooth sauce. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.
Can be made a day ahead.

Assembly:

Roll out dough as indicated in dough recipe above.


See this video for how to fold classic empanadas.

Preheat oven to 400F.

To assemble the empanadas, hold one disc in your left hand (if you are right-handed). Brush outer edge on the upper half of disc with plain water. Place a spoonful of the cheese mixture in the center of the disc and then top with a spoonful of the chorizo mixture. Fold the top and bottom edge of the gently and seal edges with your fingers. Twist and fold the edges with your fingers or use a fork to press down on the edges as you would a pie crust.

Chill the empanadas for at least an hour to help them prevent leaks.

When ready to bake, brush the empanadas with egg wash. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve the empanadas with avocado sauce.

Adapted from Laylita, and Epicurious

42 comments:

  1. I love spanish cuisine, your empanadas looks so delicious Susan !Hugs from Trieste

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    1. Thank you, Chiara. Everyone loved them :) Hugs, Dear.

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  2. I've never made empanadas. We frequently pick up some from Whole Foods which are quite tasty. I think these sound worthy of making in my own kitchen. The Baker has endless patience with pastry. I'm thinking a joint effort. I'll do the filling and he can do the finishing. I think our good weather is coming to an end!! Rain, sleet and snow later in the week is forecast.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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    1. Thank you, Bonnie. I had never made them before either and having a helper to make them would definitely be wonderful! Yes, late tomorrow night into Thursday look like winter again :(

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  3. You have the same beautiful face:)

    I just saw these on IG..had not received your post yet..we had Chilean friends..who regaled in making us empanadas..(Haroldo made them) he also made the best Pisco sours;)

    The avo sauce♥

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    1. Thank you, My Dear :) Well, kind of the same and kind of not - LOL. What wonderful friends! I've never had a Pisco sour - sounds good!

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  4. I know these were the hit of the party Susan, they look wonderful and your crust looks so tender. Love seeing pictures of your first experience with Paella - looks like a really fun memory!

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    1. They were very well liked, Chris :) Spain seems like another lifetime ago! It was wonderful.

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  5. I have to try your empanada dough recipe! They look really beautiful, Susan.

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    1. The dough was wonderful, Angie, and could probably be used for many recipes. Thank you!

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  6. I didn't know you could buy premade empanada dough, but I will keep that in mind, along with the pie crust idea. These look terrific and I especially like that avocado cream.

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    1. You would love the creamy avocado sauce, Linda! Thanks!

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  7. Your folds are beautiful Susan! I'm sure everyone really enjoyed this wonderful appy:@)

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    1. They were fun to make, Lynn. Time consuming, but fun :) Thanks!

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  8. Hi Susan! I've always wanted to make these as I have a friend who's from Mexico and she has shared her creations with me in the past. You did a great job on the crimping :) Love the photos from Spain too - how cool. Your dinner group sounds like fun!

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    1. Our group has a lot of fun, Tricia, thank you! We have being doing these dinners for over 20+ years now.

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  9. The first thing I noticed was the fold so I watched the video. Everything sounds delicious and this will be saved to try.

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    1. Thank you, Larry! If you can get Bev to help you, the work would go much faster ;)

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  10. Your empanadas look beautiful and perfect. I bought paella rice a couple of months ago, and still haven't had time to make it. However, today is my last day of work, I'm retiring, so kitchen watch OUT! :) And, I just made a similar avocado sauce for tostadas - it's really good. Great post.

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    1. Oh my goodness, Lea Ann! Congratulations on your retirement! Your kitchen will be busy :)

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  11. I have never eaten something like this, but they look crispity and tasty!

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    1. They are tasty and crispity, Gigi :) You and your hubby need to make some together!

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  12. Hi Susan, these empanadas look wonderful, your edges are perfect. And I love that you made Paella. My daughter-in-law bought me a special pan just for that dish but I have not made any yet. Love love the avocado sauce.

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    1. Thank you, Cheri! Sorry, I'm a little late in catching up here!

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  13. Oh Susan, your empanadas look perfect...and I am loving the idea of avocado sauce with a touch of spice...what a wonderful appetizer!
    I hope you are enjoying your week Susan :)

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    1. Thank you, Juliana! The avocado sauce was a winner!

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  14. Love the picture of you Susan. You have not changed a bit. Your empanada folding technique is perfect. I have made Finnish pasties and know I love anything wrapped in pastry. Will share the avocado sauce with my DIL. She loves avocados.

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    1. Well, I wish you were right, Penny :) Thanks so much!

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  15. Susan, our dinner group has been wanting to have a Spanish theme dinner with paella. I will offer to make the empanadas 😄

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  16. Wow- they look absolutely perfect - delicious!!

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    1. Thank you, El! I was happy with my first try at empanadas :)

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  17. I haven't had these in a long time. I could go for one right now :-)
    Amalia
    xo

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  18. From the great photos, I would never have guessed that you had never made empanadas before. You did a terrific job. I've pinned these and will be making soon.

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  19. My mom has been to Toremolinos and told me it was beautiful! I love paella too and empanadas are very similar to waht we call here pitakia! Your empanadas are perfect Susan!

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    1. I'm sure much has changed but I will always remember that trip fondly! Thank you, Katerina!

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  20. Your empanadas are perfection, Susan. Beautifully flavored, cooked to a golden brown and the edges are turned beautifully....not as easy as it looks! But the winner is the avocado sauce. How divine and the color! Love it!

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    1. The avocado sauce is a winner, Barbara! Thank you :)

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  21. Didn't want to miss these! They look perfect and so do you so many years ago.

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