Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chipotle Cheesy Chicken Empanadas

Ok, I would like to apologize for my lack of posts, lately. Things have been absolutely crazy around my house lately! Anyway, these are Chipotle Cheesy Chicken Empanadas. I think "empanada" is a loosely used term. This recipe is adapted from Paula Deen's Chicken Empanadas recipe. In her recipe, she uses refrigerated pie dough for the empanada dough. For the record, I love these for the pie crust empanada crust because it is buttery and crumbly and delicious. Off the record, I think that the pie crust is the very thing that inauthenticates these as empanadas... but empanada is such a fun word to say, that I will continue to call these Chipotle Cheesy Chicken Empanadas. Get ready for some smoky, cheesy, spicey, buttery, crumbly deliciousness.

Notice the Perfect Chicken recipe at the top of the card:

First things first: Make Perfect Chicken (Click the link for the recipe). The short version: Mix 1/2 t. each of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and paprika together. Rub all of the spice mix on both sides of 3-4 chicken breasts. Sear both sides in a dutch oven, and then cook 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Let rest 5-10 minutes before cutting. This method makes perfectly cooked chicken for me every time.

Step Two: Shred chicken. Here's the easy way to do it. Note: If you do not have a mixer with a paddle attachment, you can do what I used to do - shred it in the food processor. Sometimes that turns out to be more like ground chicken than shredded chicken, though.

Step Three: Split open two chipotle peppers. (I split open two regular-sized ones and two little ones.)

Step Four: Scrape out all the ribs and seeds.

See my pile of ribs and seeds off to the side? I leave all of them out. If you want your empanada filling to be spicier, add in some of those ribs later.

Step Five: Puree cream cheese and chipotle peppers in a food processor until smooth.

Yes, I realize that this technically is not a food processor. It is a handy chopper. It wants to be a food processor when it grows up, though, so please pretend with me. :) 

Realize that you forgot to put in a spoonful of the adobo sauce. Stop processing the cream cheese mixture, add in the sauce, and continue to process until smooth.

This is what it looks like when all smooth...de-stinkin'-licious.

Step Six: Scoop all of that delicious chipotle cream cheese into the bowl of shredded perfect chicken.

Step Seven: Add salt, cumin, and black pepper.

Note: Cumin is by far not my favorite spice. One time I tried to toast it and grind it myself...which resulted in an explosion of the stuff to ensue...straight up my nose. I could smell nothing else for what felt like weeks. The smell makes me sad...and slightly sick. It does, however, add a pleasant smoky quality in small amounts. I only add in a scant 1/4 teaspoon. If you like/love the stuff, you can add as much as a whole teaspoon if you want.
Step Eight: Mix really well. Nothing is worse than a large clump of spices in only one empanada and a bunch of underseasoned other empanadas.

I would just like to use the word "empanada" again. Empanada.

Step Nine: Add cheddar cheese,...

...and mix well.

I will admit - Sometimes I stop at this point and eat this stuff with Ritz crackers.

I have patience issues when it comes to food.

Step Ten: Take one of the pie dough rolls, and roll it out on a floured surface until it is about a 15 inch circle. Cut out 3 in rounds. I don't know how I missed getting a picture of this, but I use the rim of a drinking glass to cut out rounds...and I'm not just real sure that the rounds are quite to 3 in. I am only certain that they are round.

After you've cut them out, gather the scraps, roll out thin, and cut out more rounds! Repeat with remaining pie dough rolls.
Step Eleven: Put a generous dollop of filling in the center of each round.

Step Twelve: Dip a finger or two in water, and moisten all the way around the edge of the pie dough round.

Does it bother anyone else how often the color of my hands change on this blog? Somewhere between being fair skinned, part Cherokee (pink/red skin), and having early signs of Raynaud's (purple skin)...my hands look like they belong to five different people.  

Step Thirteen: Fold over the pie dough, and pinch the edges to seal. If you have fingernails of any length at all, your empanadas may suffer a few fingernail hole injuries. I don't mind them, but some of you out there may be wondering why there is a random hole in the dough.

Here is one of few that does not have a hole in the top. :) Terrible photo, though.

Step Fourteen: Arrange the empanadas on a baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Ok, this picture is super misleading. I usually try to fit like 20 - 22 empanadas on a sheet at a time, but since I was making this batch primarily for the freezer (because the next few days will be insanity for us!), I just decided to bake a few.


Please forgive my photography skills for this picture and all following ones. These look so much more golden brown and delicious in real life. Somehow I got the flash to super-blinding-bright mode which washed out the rest of the pictures. I also have flour lodged in some of the camera buttons...but, well, you know.

Here's the empanada I showed you earlier. Cheese pushed through that fingernail imprinted hole, and for whatever reason, that makes me smile...a lot.

Ok, so the flash was blinding, but if you look toward the back of this picture, you can see the delicious, golden, buttery-ness that is these empanadas.

Yummy, smoky, spicy, cheesy, chickeny, goodness...in a buttery, flaky, crumbly crust. Oh. My. Gosh.

Another picture of the goodness...

And another.

I don't know why this picture makes me happy, but it does.

...And here are the only two remaining unopened and uneaten after taking all the other pictures. They were gone as soon as the camera flashed.

These can be bagged and frozen for up to one month. Oddly enough, you bake these the same way - 400 degrees for 15 -20 minutes. Since this recipe makes so much, I usually bake half for dinner, and freeze the other half for another dinner later on...or we snack on a few at a time over a few days.

Chipotle Cheesy Chicken Empanadas
1 1/2 - 2 lb. Perfect Chicken, shredded
2 c. sharp cheddar, shredded
8 oz. cream cheese
2 chipotle peppers in adobo with a small spoonful of sauce
1/4 t. cumin
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 15 oz. packs refrigerated pie crust

Seed and devein the chipotle peppers. Puree cream cheese, chipotle peppers, and a small spoonful of adobo sauce in a food processor until smooth. In a large bowl, mix together chicken, cream cheese mixture, cumin, salt, pepper, and cheddar cheese.

Take one of the pie dough rolls, and roll it out on a floured surface until it is about a 15 inch circle. Cut out 3 in rounds, gathering the scraps and re-rolling as needed. Repeat with remaining pie dough rolls.

Put a generous dollop of the chicken mixture in the center of each round. Using a finger dipped in water, moisten all the way around the edge of a pie dough round, and fold the pie dough over the filling, making a half circle. Pinch the edges to seal. Repeat with remaining rounds. Arrange the empanadas on a baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown.

* Can freeze for up to one month.
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  1. These look delicious! I can't wait to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing at Creative Thursday this week. Have a wonderful weekend.

  2. I love reading your posts. You crack me up! Looks great. Thanks for all the recipes!

    1. Aww...you are so welcome. You just made my day! Thanks for reading!

  3. Hi!! I have screenshot so many recipes of yours for myweek..hoping to find some crock pot recipes :) but is there a good chipotle sauce I could maybe use to mix with the cream cheese? As opposed to cutting up chili peppers..?

    Thanks for the foodporn, lol!

  4. Replies
    1. Haha....well, I don't happen to know of a good chipotle sauce. There is such a thing as chipotle powder, though. You may try a teaspoon or more of it instead. I'm not sure! :) Good luck!

    2. Ah didn't even think of that!! Thank you :) ps found the crock section..eeeeee!

  5. I can not wait to try these, I know they're gonna be amazing! I just have to say your writing cracks me up. Empanada. :)


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