Chicken and Black Bean Empanadas

Savory. My blog ‘tagline’ promises sweet AND savory bakes but my sweet tooth takes over more times than not.

But these empanadas, or hand pies as some people call them, were so popular at my son Adam’s Grad Party that I decided that it should be the next recipe that I type up and share.

I’ll be honest, when I make empanadas, I don’t really use a recipe for the filling. The flavors and ingredients tend to evolve depending on what I have and how I feel. (My mood often influences many things around me – In our old house, my husband called the 1 bathroom that we all shared “The Mood Bathroom” – when my mood changed, so did the paint color in the bathroom!! Haha! He actually wasn’t too far off!)

That is the beauty of these awesome little hand pies! Use whatever meat and/or veges that you have on hand! Make them more spicy if you’re in the mood. You can even change out the pastry and use pie crust or Rough Puff instead of the full Puff Pastry called for in the recipe.

For Christmas, we made two 20 pound turkeys. Yes, we fed a lot of people but we knew we didn’t need two whole birds. But we made them anyway so that we could have leftover turkey – my favorite part of hosting holidays! We froze a large bag of it and yesterday I used it up in some Turkey Pot Pie Empanadas. AND I doubled the recipe so we had dinner last night and have another batch in the freezer for whenever I need a quick meal!

Unfortunately, I didn’t take photos during the making of the Chicken and Black Bean Empanadas but I did manage a few when I made the Turkey Pot Pies. I was in a rush to get a million different items made for the grad party and my camera was not close to hand. I will make these again in the next week or so and post more pics!

Another wonderful aspect of these beauties is the fact that you can do them in stages. They do take quite a while if you make everything from start to finish in one sitting. But if you break it up, it is much more manageable and even doable for a large party!

Start out with making the pastry and then freeze or refrigerate it. The pastry has to chill before use anyway so why not make a few days in advance?  Even easier is using store bought puff pastry. Yes, that is allowed! You don’t have to feel you are cheating if you use store bought! I even heard Mary Berry admit to using store bought puff so why shouldn’t you?!?!

OK, they aren’t even. That’s OK!

You can also make the filling in advance and refrigerate until needed.  After making the filling, it should be allowed to cool to room temperature before assembling the hand pies so that a warm filling doesn’t melt the butter in the pastry. Keeping things cold when using puff pastry is super important!  You’ll get better layers if the butter in pastry stays cold so keep things chilled as much as possible! Chilling the filling will actually help keep everything cold so, again, why not make it in advance?

And now, the best part. You can assemble multiple batches, freeze and then bake from frozen whenever you need them! You’ll need to add about 10 minutes to the fresh baking time when you bake them from frozen but it still makes for quick dinner or party prep!

So make these and let me know what you think! Then share your own filling ideas! The possibilities are endless!

This is the filling for the Turkey Pot Pies. Yummm!

Chicken and Black Bean Empanadas

Makes 16 empanadas

Ingredients

  • 2 puff pastry sheets (1 box), thawed OR ½ batch homemade puff pastry
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • ½ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • 1 package (1 ounce) taco seasoning
  • ½ cup enchilada sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 egg plus 1 Tablespoon water whisked together in a bowl
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add peppers and onions and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the black beans, chicken, seasonings and enchilada sauce. Stir and cook until heated through. Taste filling and add more seasoning or hot sauce if desired. Allow to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Open up one sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured countertop. Roll out with a floured rolling pin to about 12x 18 inches. Cut into 8 rectangles (I cut the pastry in half lengthwise, then in half widthwise, then cut each half in half again widthwise.)
  4. Place about 2 Tablespoons cooled chicken mixture on one half of each rectangle. Top with 1 Tablespoon shredded cheese. Lightly brush the edges of each rectangle around the mixture with egg wash (I use my finger to apply it.) Fold the top of the rectangle down over the filling and seal but pressing firmly together. Then use the tines of a folk to seal and crimp the 3 edges that you just squeezed together. This will make a good seal and keep the filling from leaking out.
  5. Brush off any extra flour and place empanadas on the lined baking sheet. Brush the tops and sides with egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Alternatively, you can freeze the empanadas before brushing with egg wash. Once frozen, wrap in clingfilm and place in a freezer storage bag. When you need a quick dinner, place empanadas on lined baking sheet, brush with egg wash and bake at 400ۣ° from frozen for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown.

 

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