Chicken, Squash and Apple Empanadas
Hello all! Its been an extra long Labor Day weekend for me and Scott, and we’ve just returned from Upstate New York where we stayed at my Dad’s house in the woods for a relaxing and food-filled little vacation. While I usually do a fair amount of cooking, and a large amount of eating and drinking during my trips there, I hadn’t really planned to do much in the way of blogging or blog-prepping (bringing along the whole tripod/lighting set up is sometimes a pain). However, we shared the house with a group of fun and foodie people for the first few days and were left with a fridge full of treats to ourselves once they left on Monday.
Due to the weather being pretty dreary for the rest of our stay, and Scott’s desire to do not much more than sit and continue to read Game of Thrones, I was determined to get creative with the left-overs and other ingredients we already had in the kitchen. I’ve been wanting to try making homemade empanadas for some time now, so I thought the big bag full of grilled chicken our co-vacationers had left us would be the perfect starter. Using some other ingredients we had, I whipped up some delicious filling that was reminiscent of one of my favorite autumn dishes (butternut squash and apple soup). I was definitely pleased with the outcome of my first empanada attempt, as well as the decent quality of my photos sans-tripod and box-light! The dough was very easy to put together and work with, and these puppies baked up lovely and golden brown! I can’t wait to try other types of filling, and I know Scott is already asking for more!
Empanada Dough (via Gourmet)
- 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose 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 lemon juice
Sift flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. (Mixture will look shaggy.) Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together. Form dough into a flat rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour.
Chicken, Squash and Apple Filling
- 1 Apple, diced
- 1/2 Sweet Onion, minced
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 Small Yellow Squash, diced
- 2 Pinches Sugar
- 1/8 tsp Cumin
- 1/8 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 2 Cups Shredded Cooked Chicken
In a large saute pan, heat about 2 TBSP olive oil. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent. Add apples, garlic, squash, sugar and spices and stir to combine. Drizzle in a bit of water just to moisten mixture, lower heat, cover and simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until all ingredients are softened. Remove from heat, and mash the mixture using a potato masher or fork. This will combine the flavors and smooth out a few chunks while still leaving a nice texture. Add the shredded chicken and mix to combine.
- 1 Egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and cut into 12 equal pieces. Working on a floured surface, roll out one piece of dough at a time into 5-inch rounds and fill with 1-2 TBSP of chicken mixture. Fold dough in half over filling, brushing edges with egg to seal well. Crimp edges using a fork.
Continue assembling all 12 empanadas, and arrange them on two baking sheets. Brush the tops of each with the egg wash. Transfer to oven and cook for 25 minutes, rotating the pans once halfway through. Let cool a few minutes before eating. Enjoy!