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Friday, April 10, 2009

Puerto Rican Inspired Empanadas

recently i came out of the closet about my newfound love of latin american food. maybe my previous experience wasn't that great but as of a few months ago, i've hit a few really good mexican joints. i mean, i really did say out loud that i disliked the whole melted cheese over meat and topped with salsa thing and yet, i've had my fair share of tacos, carne asadas, burritos in the last six months. further, my trip to Puerto Rico has made me realize that rice and beans is an excellent combination. so inspired, in the last two weeks, i've made two entrees that i normally would avoid. first for my monthly food challenge: asianized enchiladas, a dish that not only fed me for a week but made me see the light. next, the empanada.

when we first arrive to PR, jason and i had a cocktail at the hotel and shared an empanada. it was so good! the meat inside was shredded chicken, spicy and the outter shell flaky. i knew that i wanted to make something like it at home. my search for the ultimate recipe came up with a fried one but the blogger gave me the go ahead to bake them instead. i am always apprehensive about pie crust recipes, only because i don't have a food processor and they seem to require the crumbly type of dough thing but i figured i was able to make hand held apple pie and apple blossom tart, i could knock this one out. the crust came out more bready than flaky like a pie but it was still very good. i used ground chicken (because it's what i had!). excellent snack. what i would change: my filling was a bit dry, i may have let it cook a bit longer than i should've. as a result, i felt like it needed perhaps a sauce to top it or dip in.


Puerto Rican Inspired Empanadas
recipe courtesy of the Noshery

1 lb drained ground chicken
2 potatoes, diced
1 onion, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup recaito
1 envelope of Sazon sin achiote
10 pimiento stuffed olives, cut in half
olive oil
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup water
Heat skillet at med-high, drizzle with olive oil. Saute onions, garlic and recaito until onions are translucent.

Drizzle chicken with olive oil and season with Adobo. Add chicken, potatoes, bay leaves, Sazon and water to skillet, stir and cover. Simmer on a low heat for about 45 mins, or until meat is tender.

3 1/2 cups of flour
2 1/2 tsp of salt
2 tsp of baking powder
3 1/2 Tbs of vegetable oil, cold (***I just used butter, extra cold)
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 cup of water
Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.

Cut in butter into the flour mixture. (cut in: When a fat such as butter or oil is mixed with a dry ingredient like flour until they form into small particles.) (i watched an episode of Ask Aida and she did it with her fingers. so i did too)

Place mixture in large bowl, add the egg and mix using a fork.

Add the water a little at a time, mixing with a fork. When done mixing the dough brittle, or in pieces.

Dust a workspace with flour, collect all of your dough. Knead the dough using your palm, as if you were washing clothes on an old washboard. Knead until the dough is soft and smooth. Form into a ball, cover with a cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Roll dough out into a rope about 15 inches long. Once rolled out cut off disks about 3/4 of an inch think. Dust your rolling pin and workspace and roll out into a thin paper circle.


Preheat oven at 350degrees. Take your disk of rolled out dough, and fill with 1 spoonful of filling.

Wet the edges of the dough with water or oil (**I used egg wash). Fold over to make a half moon, Trim the edges if you need to make them even. Pinch the dough together using your fingers, then go over it, pressing it with the teeth of a fork. You now have a pastelillo.

Place on baking tray, brush with egg wash. i baked them for about 25 minutes.


Today's Soundtrack: the entire Kings of Leon album, Only By the Night

i finally broke down and bought the album and it's been on continuous repeat since. i am particularly a fan of I Want You, Be Somebody and Cold Desert.


  1. Yummmmmm ...kind of love Kings of Leon too.

  2. Maegan,
    i only just discovered KOL and i <3 them. their album is on contant rotation in my car and at work. thanks for stopping by.

  3. Thanks for posting this empanada recipe. It seems simple enough to make. The picture of the empanada is making me hungry. I think the pairing of the sangria recipe from your post today and these empanadas would be perfect!!!!

  4. Hi Rick --
    it is so simple to make, i can assure you. :) and the filling possibilities are endless. :)

    and you're right, the pairing of this with the sangria would be divine!

  5. Thanks for posting this empanada recipe. It seems simple enough to make. The picture of the empanada is making me hungry. I think the pairing of the sangria recipe from your post today and these empanadas would be perfect!!!!

  6. Yummmmmm ...kind of love Kings of Leon too.