Mouth Watering Buffalo Chicken Empanadas
By: Jack Mancuso
There is something about light, flaky pastry that tickles the tongue. Put something yummy inside, and you get bites of heaven. Buffalo Chicken Empanadas are not expensive or fancy. You can hold one by hand and take it with you, or put out a platter at your next gathering and watch them disappear. I think they’re a great combination of practical eating with great flavor.
What are Empanadas
If you have had a turnover, you have a sense of an empanada. Instead of a triangle, the empanada looks like a crescent moon. It’s perfect for stuffing, then frying until golden brown.
Empanadas: A Humble Beginning
The vast majority of Empanada recipes originate in Spain. They first appeared during Moorish invasions to Iberia around 700 CE. By the 1500s, a Catalan Cookbook cites empanadas by name. At this juncture, the empanada was not a single-serve item. Instead, cooks prepared them like pies or used square pans for serving out portions. Empanadas came to Latin America and the Philippines thanks to Spanish colonists as time moved forward.
Buffalo Chicken Empanada Ingredient List
1-pound boneless, skinless chicken
Splash of Olive oil
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Garlic powder
1 tsp Black pepper
1 tsp Cumin
8 oz. Softened cream cheese
½ cup Chunky blue cheese dressing
½ cup Monterey Jack cheese (shredded), alternatively cheddar
2 cups shredded, grilled chicken
½ cup Hot Sauce
One package of empanada discs (typically sold in sets of 10)
Buffalo Chicken Empanadas Directions
- Slice your chicken breast into wide strips.
- Rub the chicken with olive oil
- Mix the spices and sprinkle them evenly over the chicken
- Grill until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Let it rest (it will come up to 165 while it sits).
- Shred the chicken using a cutting board and chef knife. If you don’t have a good cutting board or knife, I offer both HERE.
- Combine the cream cheese, blue cheese, and hot sauce until blended evenly
- Stir in the shredded cheese and chicken.
- Use ¼ of the buffalo chicken in the center of each Empanada wrap.
- Fold in half (it will look like a half-moon)
- Dampen the edges of the dough, then press together using a fork. Check to make sure they seal tightly.
- Using the point of your knife, put three tiny holes in the top of the Empanada.
- Put 1” of cooking oil into a deep skillet (you can also use a deep fryer)
- Fry them in small batches, turning them to brown on both sides.
- Drain on paper towels.
Idea from my Kitchen: You can use Hot Sauce mixed with butter and a bowl of blue cheese for dipping if desired.
Tips & Tricks
- Chicken tends to stick. Make sure to oil the grill surface before cooking.
- Jack’s preferred hot sauce is Frank’s
- If you cannot find Empanada disks, you can use thinly rolled pizza or pie dough cut in circles to fit your Empanada press instead.
- If you cannot find one specifically for Empanadas, a calzone, dumpling, or pierogi press will work.
- You can freeze your Empanadas. First, place them on a parchment-lined cookie tray in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer to a food storage bag. These keep for about four months.
Empanadas are one of the most versatile foods in the world. While the most traditional fillings are chicken with bell peppers and onions, recipes have taken things further. For example, you can use beef, ham, chorizo, or pulled pork as the meat element. Or, have fillings of vegetables with cheese and potatoes.
And don’t forget desserts! Grab some apple or cherry pie filling, fry, and dust the top with powder sugar (tell us what time to be there!)
The Empanada is small enough to “take it on the road” with little mess.
Buffalo Chicken Empanada Side Dishes
Strawberry or pineapple salsa (pico)
Street Corn Salad
Pit Master’s Memo
When you review global recipes, Empanadas appear in one shape or form nearly everywhere. In the United States, some folk call them meat pies. In India, ask for samosas, and in Latin America, request pastelillos.
I think the best part about Empanadas is that it’s tough to get them wrong (other than burning).
From the Bar
Key Lime Sour