Chicken & Chorizo Empanadas

Since moving and getting my adult side of life in sync again, I have been on a cooking BINGE! Also – meal planning, yeah, I’m a newfound convert! I know I tried meal planning before, but I did it wrong for my life, and by that I mean, I was meal planning so that I was cooking EVERY NIGHT. That’s where I erred because I was meal planning based on other home cooks who maybe don’t live as far away from their work, or being a home cook is their main form of income. I, on the other hand, no longer live very close to a grocery store like we used to, and since I take the train, some days are going to be longer than others, so cooking every night is no longer an option…not that it was ever an option I practiced before when I drove and grocery shopped almost nightly…cut me some slack, I’m finally learning.

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So now that I am meal prepping for 3-4 dinners a week (adjusting ingredients to include leftovers for lunch/dinner for a night or two), cooking isn’t as much of a task, and is a little more relaxing than it used to be. My new plan is to plan/pick recipes on Friday/Saturday, grocery shop & mis en place where I can on Saturday/Sunday, also including days that mean a lunch out (since I’m downtown, it definitely means hitting up some places I’ve been meaning to go to for quite some time) and the occasional dinner out too (like how this past Friday was pizza night with some lady friends). Anyway, the point is, I’m finally figuring out how to balance work with food, making sure to try 1-2 new recipes a week, and then going to my “oldie, but a goodie” when time is of the essence!

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That being said, this week, I did a remake remix! Back in the very early stages of this blog, I made beef empanadas (with premade dough, but one of these weekends I will make the dough from scratch, but that’s definitely a weekend thing to do) and they were AWESOME! I got the empanada bug again from a smitten kitchen post on Insta, and I made it according to her filling (though I didn’t include any drumstick in my cooking, just thighs because that was the easiest thing to find without getting a ton of drumsticks and a complete packet of thighs…that’s just too much chicken for two people), but that’s when I realized it wasn’t quite where I wanted it for myself on the flavor scale. Don’t get me wrong, I am not dinging her recipe in the slightest, given how big a fan I am of the smitten kitchen world. However, there were spicy notes I just wasn’t getting, so I added cayenne and chili oil, and then took the earthiness a step further with the cumin. I also added peas and carrots for some body & freshness because it was feeling a little meat heavy, and my tinkering created a really beautiful empanada. It’s spicy, it’s earthy, it’s hearty, it’s robust! Just everything you could want in a meal you can eat on the go! Oh, and you can TOTALLY make this whole thing in one pot, which is another plus! Delicious!

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I hope you enjoy my rendition and get your nomz on! – Cooking Maggie

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Chicken & Chorizo Empanadas

These are just spicy enough to waken you

  • Author: The Real Cooking Maggie (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients

Filling

  • 4 chicken thighs, with bone & skin
  • 2 medium-small golden potatoes, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/3 cup of green peas
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/3 cup diced/crumbled chorizo (removed from casings)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted green olives
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Optional: 1-2 teaspoons chili oil for a little added heat (added 1/2 teaspoon at a time – thorouly mix in and taste before adding in more)**

Egg Wash & Dough

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1-2 packages of empanada wrappers*

Instructions

  1. Leave empanada dough out to thaw – if you need it to be more pliable, put the stack of wrappers in the microwave and hit it for 10 seconds at a time until dough is good to work with (should bend without cracking). DO NOT COOK THE DOUGH!
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, then brown chicken, turning over once (about 4 minutes each side), and transfer to a plate. Cook onions, garlic, and bay leaves in the remaining fat and juices until soft and fragrant.
  4. Add chorizo, potatoes, paprika, cumin, and cayenne, and cook for 2 minutes. Add olives, wine, and broth and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally and scrape up all those yummy brown bits. Return chicken to skillet along with any juice on the plate, then reduce heat to simmer, cover the pan, and cook for about 25 minutes.
  5. Transfer chicken to a clean plate to cool, then remove/discard the skin, remove the meat from the bones (discard bones), and chop the meat. Return chicken to the pot, add in the peas and chili oil (if using), and discard bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, give it a few more good mixes, then cool filling, uncovered, for about 30 minutes.
  6. Spoon about 2 tablespoons filling onto center of each dough circle and fold in half, using a fork to press the ends together for a seal.
  7. Lightly brush empanadas with some of egg wash and bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer empanadas to a rack to cool at least 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

*You can find empanada wrappers in the frozen food section of your grocery store – look near doughs or the ethnic frozen food section

** You can also find chili oil in the International Section of your grocery store (right around the Asian foods), but I’m working on getting the recipe of the homemade oil Science with Sophie bequeathed to my kitchen last year! It’s AMAZING and just the right level of spicy where I’m not dying, but I can definitely feel it. In this case, less is DEFINITELY more.

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