So I have found yet another way to use the leftovers from my baked chicken/mashed potato meal: Empanadas!
Here are my leftover mashed potatoes and one chicken breast:
There are several different cultures that make empanadas. The recipe I used is probably more like the Spanish version. I combined and adapted the dough recipes/preparation techniques from Martha Stewart and Let’s Cook with Nora by Nora V. Daza.
Dough Ingredients (makes about 25 small-ish empanadas)
- 4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/4 cups warm water (from the tap is fine)
- 1/4-1/3 cup butter melted (to brush on top of empanadas)
Chicken Filling Ingredients
- 1 chicken breast, shredded (I saved one from my baked chicken)
- 1/2 teaspoon peppercorn
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon whole cloves (Note: Cloves are powerful! Go easy at first if you haven’t used them before and during the grinding process, be sure to grind them up really well. You don’t want to bite into a big piece of clove!)
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup salsa verde (homemade or store bought)
- 1/4 cup chicken stock (homemade is best, but store bought works too)
Potato Filling Ingredients
For the vegetarian empanadas, I used the leftover mashed potatoes from my baked chicken meal. You can use any greens and herbs that you like, but for this batch, I minced up the following from my backyard:
- 2 small onions
- garlic chives
- kale (Lacinato and Red Russian)
- zucchini (Black Beauty)
First, make the dough. Combine the flour, butter, salt, and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl. Add the warm water and knead until smooth. Cover and let stand while preparing the fillings, at least 10 minutes.
To prepare the chicken filling, toast up the peppercorn, oregano, cumin, and cloves in a dry skillet for a few minutes. Careful not to let them burn! Grind up using a mortar and pestle.
Add minced garlic and combine.
In the same skillet, heat up a little oil, and cook the onions for a few minutes over medium-low heat. Add the shredded chicken, spice mixture, salsa verde, salt, pepper, and stock. Simmer until the water mostly evaporates and the mixture starts to thicken (about 8-10 minutes). Remember that this is your filling, and you don’t want to soggy empanadas! Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
To prepare the vegetarian filling, mince up all your garden greens and cook them in olive oil over medium heat. Throw them into a bowl with your leftover mashed potatoes and combine.
Preheat the oven to 425.
Take off a small chunk of dough, keeping the rest covered with a tea towel so it doesn’t dry out. Place on a floured board. Roll out the dough to form a long strip, keeping the width about 6-7 inches. Roll out until the dough is paper thin. Wind the dough onto a lightly oiled stick (I used a long chop-stick) until the dough is around 3-4 inches in diameter. Slip the stick out from the center. Then slice about 1-inch pieces off your roll of dough. Roll out until paper thin. Place filling in the center.
Moisten the edges with water. Seal with tines of a fork. Place prepared empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with melted butter.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool slightly. Serve with salsa verde if desired. Enjoy!