Monday, April 30, 2012

Chicken Empenadas

New Mexico has its own little food culture, mostly involving green chilies. Not the canned kind, either, although to be honest that's what I use. Fresh roasted green chiliesare used in several restaurants around here, giving even the McDonalds cheeseburger a New Mexico flair.

We all know that I'm not a fan of spicy food. Even mild salsa is killer for me. I think my loathing of spicy things started when I was little, when my parents used to give me hot sauce when I lied. While my sisters only pretended that they hated the stuff (cheaters, right?) I actually hated the stuff. One time, my sisters broke the lamp in the living room and decided to say that I did it. I didn't get in trouble for breaking the lamp, I got in trouble for apparently lying about it. Traumatic right? Now do you see why I don't like spicy things?! :)

But I've gotten used to green chilies, and love throwing them into most of my Mexican meals. I came up with this recipe a few months ago but just kind of threw it together. Please tell me that I'm not the only one that does that. I had to make this recipe again just to make sure I had it down right!

Using a 3-4" cookie cutter (or a large glass), make circles from the pie dough. Place about 1 tsp or so into the center and add a pinch of cheese. And yes, I use Uncle Ben's rice in this recipe. The extra herbs and spices give this recipe a unique flavor, but any rice will do!

Dipping your finger in water, moisten the edges of the circle of dough, and fold the dough over. Using a fork, crimp the edges.

Brush the empenadas with vegetable oil to help them crisp up.

Chicken Empenadas
by Girls in Aprons

1 package pie crust (for 2 9-inch pies)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or 2 cups rotissiere chicken
2 Tbsp taco seasoning
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
1 2-3 oz can diced green chilies
1 cup cheese
Vegetable oil, for brushing pastry

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken, taco seasoning, and water and bring to a simmer. Cook Uncle Ben's rice according to package directions. Add one cup of prepared rice to the chicken mixture. Add black beans, red bell pepper, and chilies to the mixture. Stir until heated through.

Roll out pie dough a little. For the empenadas you don't want thick dough. Using a cookie cutter or large cup, cut circles 3-4" thick, re-rolling the dough as needed. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of chicken mixture into the center of each circle and add a pinch of cheese. Dipping your finger in water, moisten the edges of the circle with the water and fold the pie dough in half. Using a fork, crimp the edges and place on a cookie sheet. Brush the top of each empenada with vegetable oil.

Place in oven for 20 minutes. Serve warm with sour cream, salsa, and guacamole for dipping.

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