There's an empanada shop opening at the end of my block sometime this month, which leads me to excitedly check their progress every time I walk by. I'm a sucker for a handheld meal so that I can eat — and eat well — on the run.
Empanadas have the distinction of being one of the perfect all-day handheld meals: You can grab an egg and chorizo empanada for breakfast with coffee; a mushroom and pepper empanada for a light lunch; a queso-packed empanada on the way to (or from) the bar.
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In anticipation of the shop's opening, I bought myself a freezer pack of empanada dough discs and have been using them to help with a refrigerator and pantry clean-out. I've made a Hot Pocket-inspired ham and cheese empanada, a few filled with black beans and "soyrizo" and, in a nod to the upcoming Super Bowl, a buffalo chicken stuffed empanada.
These empanadas were originally going to be a way to use up some leftover chopped rotisserie chicken and some odds and ends in the crisper drawer, however once I surveyed the ingredients I was planning on using — chicken, carrots, scallions, butter — I was leaning in the direction of buffalo chicken. I doubled-down on the inspiration by adding hot sauce, cream cheese for binding and an optional spoonful of blue cheese.
These bake up in under 15 minutes and are a perfect game day snack or appetizer.
Recipe: Buffalo chicken empanadas
10 discs (14 ounces) of premade, frozen empanada dough
Flour, for dusting
2 cups of cubed or shredded rotisserie chicken
4 tablespoons of butter, melted
½ tablespoon to 1 tablespoon of hot sauce of choice
2 scallions, green and white portions minced
4 tablespoons of shredded carrots
4 tablespoons of softened cream cheese
4 tablespoons of mozzarella cheese
Optional: 2 tablespoons of crumbled blue cheese
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Remove the empanada discs from the freezer and allow them to sit in the packet for about 15 minutes. Once slightly thawed and malleable, remove them from the packaging and set out on a lightly floured surface.
- In a large bowl, combine the chicken, butter, hot sauce, scallions, carrots and cheeses. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide the mixture among the 10 empanada discs and grab a small bowl of cold water for your workspace. You're going to want to avoid overfilling them; place a heaping spoonful in the center of each disc. Dip your finger in the cold water and run it around the edge of the disk and then fold it roughly in half, creating a half-moon shape.
- Using the back of a fork or your fingers, crimp the edges until completely sealed.
- Brush the empanadas in the egg wash and then place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes until they are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for five minutes before serving (perhaps with some ranch dressing?)