I am so thrilled to be Guest Posting for Jen on The Happy Little Homemaker! Jen & I are pals, so I’ve been following her blog…well…forever. Girlfriend has been blogging since way before I ever imagined that I would ever create a blog of my own. HLH has provided much needed inspiration for me on so many occasions that needless to say, I am honored to be here! Thanks, Jen!

When Jen asked that I share a favorite appetizer with her readers, I knew exactly which recipe I was going to post: Spicy Chicken Empanadas. These have been a family favorite for a very long time. I’m cross-posting them on my blog, Comfortably Domestic, where I give step-by-step instructions. If you feel like getting down to the nitty-gritty, you can read about it here.

I really hope that you try the empanadas and love them as much as we do. 🙂

Empanadas came into my life at a time when I needed them most. It was summer, and we were doing an inordinate amount of picnicking–as a mother with two toddlers is wont to do–and I was running out of ideas for “portable” lunches/snacks. While my eldest two sons were content to eat nothing but sandwiches or cheese & crackers, I would have preferred to eat large salads, or bagels & lox, or hummus with vegetables for lunch. However, my toddlers were highly suspicious of such things. All I knew was that if I had to eat another sandwich, I was going to lose what was left of my mind.

Kid food will do that to a person.

Thankfully, my sweet Bacon Slayer came to the rescue when he brought home the wrong thing for dinner one night. No, really! I’d asked him to stop at a little market in the Mexicantown area of Detroit on his way home to pick up tamales, but what he came home with was empanadas. Apparently it wasn’t Tamale Day at the little market. Lucky for us, it was Empanada Day! Their empanadas were fantastic! My boys devoured them faster than I could plop them on their plates. I knew at that moment that I had found something to save me from the sandwich-and-cracker-oblivion that was driving me mad.

I guess you could say that empanadas saved my sanity.

As my family has grown over the past eight years, this recipe has evolved to this current incarnation, and Friends–I have to tell ya–these empanadas are by far my favorite snack/appetizer/meal on the planet! The savory chicken filling has just enough heat to compliment the slightly sweet corn dough that encases it.

Empanadas make a great snack, picnic meal-on-the-run, or party appetizer. The dough takes minimal effort, and the filling can (read: should) be made with leftover chicken and pantry items. Win-Win-Win-Win-Win!

And they freeze beautifully for another Win.

Chicken Empanadas


Makes 28-32 Empanadas

For the Dough:

1 ¾ C. all-purpose flour

1 C. masa harina

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. granulated sugar

2/3 C. milk (add more by the tablespoon, up to ¾ cup total, if too dry)

2 egg yolks

1/3 C. unsalted butter, cubed

For the Filling:

½ C. cooked chicken, shredded & diced

½ C. fresh salsa, drained

2 whole chipotle chilies in adobo sauce

¾ tsp. cumin

¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

¾ tsp. McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning

½ C. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

To Seal:

2 eggs whites

1 Tbs. water

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
  2. Measure the flour, masa, baking powder, kosher salt, and sugar into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the dry ingredients 5 times to distribute.
  3. Sprinkle cubed butter over the dry ingredients, and toss to coat. Pulse 3 to 5 times, or until butter is the size of peas.
  4. Add the egg yolks. Pulse 5 times to distribute.
  5. Turn the processor on, and slowly pour the milk through the feed tube. Continue to run processor until dough just comes together—about 3 minutes.
  6. Roll dough into a ball and rest on a floured surface. Cover with a damp paper towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the filling.
  7. Set a small dine-mesh strainer over bowl. Pour the salsa into the strainer and allow juices to drain.
  8. Shred and then dice the cooked chicken. Place the chicken into a bowl.
  9. Dice the chipotles in adobo and add to the bowl of chicken.
  10. Add the cumin, cinnamon, and Montreal Steak seasoning.
  11. Place the strained salsa and shredded cheddar into the bowl of chicken and stir to combine; set filling aside while rolling out the dough.
  12. Roll dough to a large rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick.
  13. Use a 3-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter to cut discs of dough—between 28 to 32 depending on thickness of dough.
  14. Divide the discs between the prepared baking sheets.
  15. Place 1 teaspoon of filling onto the center of each disc of dough.
  16. Whip egg whites with water until frothy.
  17. Brush half of each disc perimeter with the egg wash. Fold the dough in half, ensuring the filling stays inside. Press the edges to seal. Crimp sealed edge with a fork.
  18. Bake empanadas at 375 degrees for 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Notes: Empanadas freeze beautifully! Simply allow emanadas to cool completely, and then freeze in a single layer sealed in a freezer bag set on a baking sheet. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then remove empanadas from the bag, wrap them in a foil pouch, and set the pouch on a baking sheet. Warm the empanadas in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, or until heated through. Recipe can be doubled for a crowd.


Wow; Kirsten has really outdone herself!  I can’t wait to give these a try.  And the fact that they freeze?  Um, yes please!

For more great grilling posts, check out the whole series!

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