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Empanadas

The Philippines has such a variety of foods, but the ones I favor most are those influenced by Spanish cuisine.  This is one of them.  I remember watching my mom make these when I was my daughter’s age.  While CJ and I were making them yesterday, memories came rushing back and it felt good.  I felt like a child again, but this time I was the mom cooking with my daughter.

An empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries of Latin America and the south of Europe. The name comes from the verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. Empanada is made by folding a dough or bread patty around the stuffing. The stuffing can consist of a variety of meats, cheese, huitlacoche, vegetables or fruits among others.  CLICK HERE to read more from Wikipedia.

I normally sauté  ground pork with raisins or olives for the filling.  This recipe is the “American Empanada”.  I used pre cooked Tyson chicken breast patties.  I cut each in half, placed it on the rolled dough, folded, sealed and cooked.  It’s like having your fried chicken and roll all in one.  The dough was pretty easy to make.

Ingredients:  3 cups all-purpose flour.  1 teaspoon salt.  1/4 cup lard, cut into small pieces.  1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces.  2 eggs, lightly beaten with 1/2 cup water.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Work in the lard and butter, using your fingers. Work the egg mixture into the dough and knead until smooth. Form into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

While waiting, grab your yoga mat and do 100 sit ups and push ups.  If you’re too tired or lazy, grab a drink and the remote control and channel surf or watch Oprah.  Ok… now we’re ready to cook!

Take the pre-cooked chicken patties and cut in half.  Take the dough and roll into 1 1/2 inch balls, then place it on a floured surface and roll in 6 inch rounds.  Place the half patty on one side of each round (with the straight side facing the center – see picture),  fold it in half, and press the edges together. Crimp the edges of the pastry with a fork to seal.

In a deep-fryer or large skillet, heat the oil to 375 degrees F. Fry in batches until golden brown (About 4-5 minutes in the deep fryer). Drain on paper towels before serving.  Serve these chicken empanadas with dipping sauce like Bbq sauce, catsup or honey mustard.  Or you can eat it commando (naked – the empanada, not you).

Making honey mustard is so easy. The ingredients are 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice (Optional). Mix and refrigerate. You can play with the measurements as we all have different preference, some like more honey, some don’t add the lemon juice.

Before serving, you can cut it in half so you don’t get yelled at for double dipping!  So take a piece, dip, open mouth and take a big bite of crunchy, juicy goodness.  Then run five miles so you can have more.  Enjoy!

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