I made chicken empanadas this weekend because it seemed like a good idea and like a good way to say goodbye, even if it’s only a temporary goodbye. A chicken filling full of love, hugged by a flaky crust. Tears optional. Lime juice recommended.
Our friends are moving. To Scotland. Scotland seems awfully far away from Minnesota. So, as I sat here last week contemplating the length of 12 months and what on earth I would do without Jen at happy hour and Halloween and New Year’s Eve and all those days in between and tried to determine how I could possibly justify trekking over a giant body of water – maybe to bring you all a haggis recipe, perhaps – I asked Matt and Jen if I could possibly bring them dinner this past weekend. They agreed.
This is the dough blade on my food processor. It makes doughs like this one easy and fuss-free.
My favorite parts about this particular dough adapted from Laylita are that it comes together easily and is easy to work with once it is together. Start with flour.
And butter slices.
Add in one whole egg and some cold water and pulse until it comes together.
When it’s nice and crumbly, we’re done. Keep in mind that you do want a few chunks of butter in there. We aren’t looking for uniform texture. Those chunks will make the dough flaky later.
Form a ball shape and stash it in the fridge to rest while you make your filling.
Toss a few diced onions and two to three chilies into a pan with a bit of heated oil.
Add in the spices and honey…
… and cook it down until the onions are tender. This is where I want to try it because it suddenly looks all hot and spicy.
To our onion, sauce-like mixture we will add shredded chicken.
Hard-boiled eggs. The Argentinean recipe told me so. I can’t argue.
Mix it all together, and we’re ready to stuff.
Start by rolling out your dough. I like the uniformity of rolling out large sheets of dough and cutting them with a cookie cutter or a round lid or container.
Place a small amount of filling in each circle. These circles are about 4-5 inches across, and I used 2-3 tablespoons. You want to leave a decent edge around the sides to seal and fold to prevent anything from spilling out.
Fold the empanada in half and press to seal.
You can roll over here and press with a fork, or you can just seal with a fork. For mine, I rolled the chicken empanadas over, and then because I was making caramel bourbon peach pies from the dough as well, I simply pressed those with a fork so they would look different and I could tell them apart.
Not pictured because I was melting in the heat of Matt and Jen’s kitchen: Beat an egg yolk and brush it on before baking so your empanadas get a brown glossy look across the top.
While my empanadas baked in the house, Ole stayed outside and grilled steak and chicken fajitas and the rest of us sat around and pretended that no one was leaving, that we’d all be there again or perhaps at Kevin and Leslie’s house or in my own dining room, that summer would last forever.
And when dinner was ready, we ate outside in the cooling summer evening, silent. I’m not sure if they were silent because they liked the food or because we knew it wouldn’t last, despite the fact that we’d bid the Sno’Laughlins farewell earlier this month already and here we were again, trying to extend the time before the inevitable parting.
And after we ate, well, Matt invited us out to one last farewell dinner the night before they depart. That was last night. The final goodbye. And here we are, at the end of summer and the beginning of a year of emails and Skype calls. From there, all that’s left is to say hello again in 12 months. That is, unless I can weasel my way to Scotland before then. We’ll miss you both! In fact, I miss you already. Have a fantastic time!
3 cups unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 whole egg
5 tablespoons ice cold water
1 egg yolk
Add flour and salt to food processor fitted with dough blade. Pulse once or twice to combine. Add in butter, egg and water. Pulse until crumbly. Pat together into a ball and wrap in parchment or plastic wrap. Let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so.
Roll out dough and cut out circles for empanadas and pies or desired size. Fill with desired filling. Fold in half and pinch at seams. Roll seams in and press with fork to seal. Beat egg yolk and brush over tops of empanadas. Allow to rest in fridge for 30 minutes before baking to prevent leaks. Bake at 400º F for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Makes 20 small or 10 large empanadas.
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 chiles, chopped (seeds can be removed for less hot filling)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
1/2 cup sliced green olives
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 tablespoon water
salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in onions, chilies, paprika, cumin and honey. Sauté for 10 minutes until onions become translucent. Add in chicken, olives, eggs, water and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 30 minutes before adding to empanada dough circles.
Fill empanada dough with 2-3 tablespoons of mixture for small and 1/4 cup mixture for large empanadas. Follow empanada dough directions for baking. Note: Leftover filling makes wonderful quesadillas tomorrow.
Makes filling for 16-20 small or 10 large empanadas.