Baked Chicken Empanadas (for the basics)
Recipe by Victoria Callahan aka VickerShnicker
Total Time: 1 Hour
Prep: 35 Minutes
Cook: 25 Minutes
Yield: 30 Empanadas
This recipe is just as delicious as it is basic. So all you basic bitches out there who "can't even", this one's for you! Get ready to impress your family, friends, and heck, maybe even a significant other who doesn't deserve your fine cooking.
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 Cups (16 oz.) Fresh Mozzarella
2 Cups (16 oz.) Monterey Jack Cheese
1 Vidalia Onion
5-6 Garlic Cloves
½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Teaspoons White Wine Vinegar (optional)
Salt & Pepper
Goya Empanada Discos - 3 packs of 10 discos
Goya Hot Sauce (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°F
Take your four boneless skinless chicken breasts and cut them into one-inch cubes. Season them with salt and pepper.
In a large pan, add about ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil. Place pan on medium heat and add about half of the chicken. You're going to want to cook this in two batches so it cooks evenly. With a pair of tongs or a large fork, turn the chicken every minute or so. Once the chicken is golden and is cooked through, take it out of the pan, and put in a large bowl. For newbies, cut into the chicken and make sure it's cooked through. If it's pink or a translucent-like white, then it is NOT cooked. You need to make sure the chicken is cooked through or else you'll make someone horribly sick (not cool). Once your first batch is cooked through, add the second batch of chicken to the pan and repeat.
While the chicken is cooking, you can start prepping the other ingredients. Give the onion a rough chop and set aside. Want to know the best secret for dealing with the tears that onions cause? Suffer in silence. There's no stopping the horrors that onions cause to your eyes. Just cry alone in the kitchen like nature intended.
Grate the garlic into a paste-like consistency. You're going to need about 2 tablespoons. You really want to grate this up instead of giving it a chop. Trust me here! It's going to make the garlic mesh into the other ingredients in the most delicious of ways. That or ignore me and do whatever you want but when your empanadas come out the wrong level of garlicky you'll have no one to blame but yourself.
Now about cutting the cheese… No, I'm not going to make a joke here. It's not funny anymore. In fact, "cutting the cheese" jokes were never funny, sir/madam. Anyway, cut the cheese into about 1cm cubes. I know that's kind of small and may seem tedious but again, trust me it's the perfect size for everything to melt together perfectly.
Ok, so at this point, all of the chicken should be done cooking and should be cooling in that bowl I told you to put it in. Using the same pan you used for the chicken, lower the heat to medium low and add in about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and all of your chopped onions. With a wooden spoon/spatula, consistently mix the onions around. Keep an eye on them because you do NOT want to burn the onions. You'll literally ruin everything if you do, so please don't do that.
At this point, feel free to add your 2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar. This will help scrape up the little brown bits from that pan which will give your empanadas extra flavor.
Once the onions have been cooking a few minutes and start to look a little translucent, add your 2 tablespoons of garlic mush and keep on mixing for a few more minutes. Once the onions and garlic are nice and soft, put them in a separate bowl (do not mix with the chicken yet).
Now that the chicken has had time to cool, you can begin shredding it. Pick up a piece of chicken. If it's cool enough then give it a couple pinches with your fingers and it should fall apart nice and easily. If it's too hot, just give it a few more minutes to cool down. Once it's cool enough, shred all of the chicken. Alternately, you can use two forks to shred the chicken but that takes forever and we have better things to do with our time.
Once the chicken is shredded, add the cooked onion and garlic, along with the chopped fresh mozzarella and monterey jack cheeses. Mix together until evenly combined.
**Very important step: TASTE IT!! Try a little bit of the chicken, onion and a tiny piece of cheese. See if it's seasoned to your liking. Usually I add a little more salt and pepper at this point. This is your last chance to taste before they go in the oven.
Ok, almost done! Take your Goya empanada discos. They should be at room temperature. Usually if you leave them out for 1-2 hours they should be de-thawed but you can always zap them in the microwave for a few seconds. By the way, you can usually find these in your local grocery store in the frozen ethnic food section. For each disc, add about ¼ cup of the mixture. Fold the disc in half and seal it closed. You can seal it by pressing a fork along the edges or you can pinch the edges and fold it over piece by piece (about a cm in length) until the disc is completely sealed.
At this point you have a couple options: freeze the empanadas and save them for later or bake and eat them. Usually I bake a couple and freeze the rest so I can enjoy them later! If you decide to freeze your empanadas, put them in a Ziploc bag and mark the date. They should keep for about a month.
To bake them, take a baking sheet and line it with aluminum foil. Spray the cooking sheet with Pam cooking spray and place empanadas flat on the foil. Do not overcrowd or overlap the empanadas or they won't cook evenly. Bake the empanadas for 15 minutes. Then flip them over so the other side can bake as well for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown. The empanadas should have a nice crispy shell.
Once they're done, give them a couple minutes to cool. Serve with Goya hot sauce if you want them a little spicy. Enjoy!