Thursday, February 7, 2013

Chicken Chili Empanadas

Chicken Chili Empanadas
by Sarah Gillespy

My friend Madelyn was kind enough to send me authentic empanada dough right from Puerto Rico! Madelyn sent me smaller sized dough to make for cocktail sized empanadas. They are known locally in Puerto Rico as pasetelillos. I’m a spicy food lover and I knew right away I would be using the beautiful guajillio chilies that I received from Marx Foods.

I toasted and ground my chilies to make my very own chili powder. This was a great way to be able to use the chili in more than one dish!

For the empanada filling:
1 pound ground chicken
salt and pepper
½ white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
Guajillio chili powder (directions below), to taste
Approx. 2 Tablespoons ketchup (use tomato paste if you have it but I was out!)
Few pinches dried oregano
1 package pre-made small empanada dough (pastelillos)

Add the ground chicken to a hot skillet over medium to high heat. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until chicken is thoroughly cooked and no longer pink. Add the diced onion and garlic and continue to cook for about five to 10 minutes until the onion starts to become tender. Add the chili powder (I used a good palm-full as I like my food spicy!), ketchup, dried oregano and season again with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the mixture is combined and has really come together. Take off the heat. Now it’s time to make the empanadas! It took me a few tries to get the technique right, but isn’t that the fun of making a new dish? The size of the dough I had fit about a tablespoon of the chicken mixture. Add the mixture, and fold the dough over. Use a fork to make fancy marks and to secure the dough so it stays together. Pan fry in a little bit of oil on each side. They will bubble up a little and get beautiful golden brown. Once you are done, let cool a bit and enjoy!

For the chili powder:
2 Marx Foods Dried Guajillo Chilies
Toast the whole chilies in a dry pan over low heat until just blistered, remove from the heat and let cool. De-stem the chilies and chop into manageable pieces. Add the chopped toasted peppers along with the seeds (omit seeds for a milder chili powder) in a spice grinder (I used my Magic bullet), until it becomes a fine powder.

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