Friday, December 11, 2009

Chicken Empanada's with Sweet Salsa

I am aware that I have made empanada's before and posted them on here, but these aren't as traditional. These use a puff pastry for the dough. I didn't have time to make puff pastry from scratch so I bought the frozen kind. Either way this is a great appetizer. I made these for my English class because we were reading Like water for chocolate which is a Mexican love story but with food involved it was really good and these empanada are really good too. Then I also made a sweet salsa to go with it but it def not required for these flaky bits to be good.
For the filling:

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed well
1 1/2 cups finely shredded cooked chicken
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 package prepared puff pastry
Flour, for rolling out pastry
About 1/4 cup vegetable oil, for brushing
Tomato and Pineapple Salsa Fresca, recipe follows

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Saute onions and garlic until onions are soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add spices, stir to mix fully, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add black beans and chicken and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until black beans are heated through, about 5 minutes, then remove from heat and let mixture cool fully. Add cilantro and stir well.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Lay out a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Flour the top of the dough and roll out the puff pastry until it is about 1/16-inch thick and about 12 inches by 16 inches.
Trim edges to size, if necessary. Cut 4-inch strips crosswise and lengthwise making 12 (4 by 4-inch) squares. Make sure the squares are well floured and stack them in a little pile.
To form empanadas:
Fill a little dish with some room temperature water. Imagine each square you work with is separated in half by a diagonal. Place a couple tablespoons of filling in the top half. Dip a finger into the water and moisten the edges of the top half with water. Fold the bottom half to meet the edges of the top half. Use a fork to pinch and seal the edges. Lightly brush the tops with vegetable oil. Place finished pockets on a nonstick baking sheet and bake about 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy.

Tomato and Pineapple Salsa Fresca:
1 pound ripe tomatoes (about 3 medium), roughly chopped
1 (14.5-ounce) can pineapple pieces, juice strained
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 small jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
3 scallions, finely sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
1 lime, juiced
2 pinches superfine sugar
Kosher salt
In a medium bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes, pineapple, garlic, jalapeno and scallions. Mix well. Add lime juice, sugar, and salt, to taste. Toss well. Serve with the Chicken Empanadas.

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