Sweet Cooking

Easter Empanadas

In Holidays, Just Good Food on May 4, 2010 at 5:43 am

My friend, Katie, and I have 2 things in common. We both work in the advertising business, and we’d both rather be in the kitchen. She is a total culinary superstar and is developing her own recipes for a cookbook. I know you’ll love reading about her homemade empanadas!

Empanadas aren’t a traditional menu item for an Easter celebration, but hey why not?

Surge (my boyfriend) and I traveled to Rochester from NYC to spend Easter weekend with my family this year.  We wanted to contribute something unique to the table.  Sure, the baked ham, jello salad and Crockpot of meatballs provide a comfort factor unmatched for folks from Western NY, but I wonder if it makes anyone else want to scream “There’s so much amazing food out there! Let’s do something different this year!” After racking our brains for 20 minutes over coffee for just the right crowd pleaser, Surge looks at me with an eye brow raised and says “empanadas?”  Perfect. He always has the best ideas.

Doesn't this look more interesting than ham?

We raced to the nearest Wegman’s – greatest grocery store on Earth by the way – to gather all the fixin’s for our savory pastries.  Frozen puff pastry shells, fresh veggies and chicken.

When we got back home we were faced the frenzy of working in someone else’s kitchen.  No cutting board had us chopping veggies on a hand towel.  After a few stumps in the road and two hours of sautéing, cutting, stuffing, forking, baking, and good conversation on an unseasonably HOT Easter day, we had the prettiest plate of empanadas.  We proudly presented  the flaky pockets to over 30 family members of different ages and watched them literally disappear.  It’s oh so satisfying to watch picky eaters go for thirds… but so fast?!  36 fist-sized empanadas gone.  In 4 minutes flat.  The bittersweet ending to our tale…

So you want to try my empanadas, right?

Katie & Surge’s Easter Empanadas

(makes 36 empanadas)

2 packs of frozen puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm brand)

2 Chicken breasts

1 Large Spanish/white onion

1 large Idaho potato (at least one cup when diced)

4 or 5 medium sized carrots (1 ½ cups when diced)

1 ½ cup frozen green pees

1 cup frozen corn kernels

1 taco seasoning packet

2 tbsp crushed red pepper (optional)

Filling: Boil chicken breast, cool and shred.  Dice (very small) potato, onion, carrots.  Heat large skillet or frying pan with 3 tbsp olive oil.  Sautee potatoes, onions, carrots, peas and corn until the veggies become soft.  Add the chicken, taco packet, and 1 cup of water.  Mix and let simmer until everything looks evenly combined and not too wet.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Turn off heat and let cool – so its easier to stuff and wrap the pastry dough.


This is what your filling should look like.

Pastry: Follow the thawing and baking instructions on the back of the box (about an hour). Prepare egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water).  Set aside.

Assembly: Cut each pastry sheet into 9 squares, fill with one heaping spoonful of filling, fold over in a triangle shape and press the edges with a fork to make decorative edges (like you would a pie crust).  Place empanadas on a greased cookie sheet (with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray).  Brush egg wash over the top of each empanada.  Bake on 400 degrees for approx 20 minutes (until golden brown).

Notes:  Serve with green tomatillo salsa, your favorite hot sauce or a little sour cream with some chili powder, cayenne and salt mixed in.  You can really put anything you want in these pastry shells!  You can substitute the Latin style seasoning with curry and make something similar to an Indian samosa.  You can sauté peppers and onions and mix with scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese to make breakfast empanadas.  If you have a little dough leftover you can put some jam in them to make a French style pastry.  The world is your oyster!

We live in Sunnyside Queens and our food is inspired by street food from all over the world.  A 5 block radius from our apartment offers street food like Columbian tamales, Mexican taco trucks, Indian samosas, Greek gyros, and more.  This, combined with our obsession for healthy food, makes our style of cooking one that is down to earth, fun food with a healthy twist.

  1. yum! now that is right up my alley. i am going to make these for mother’s day. thanks for the recipe.

  2. I can tell you, they were scrumptious! I am going to make them this sunday!

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