Originally a Spanish treat, empanadas have been adapted by countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to reflect the flavors of each area. It's how Adrianne Calvo of Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar in Miami came up with her nontraditional version, which incorporates elements from each region into a single pastry.
"I had some fun adding new American and Mexican influences to it—bold flavors that everyone has come to love," she says of her recipe. Delightfully zingy with the addition of tomatillos and jalapeños, these handheld snacks are the perfect addition to any weekend get-together.
Green Chile Chicken Empanadas with Corn Avocado Relish & Pickled Onions
Recipe adapted from Adrianne Calvo, Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar, Miami, FL
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours and 15 minutes
For the Empanada Dough:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup masa harina
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and room temperature
½ cup, plus 3 tablespoons, water
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
For the Filling:
8 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 jalapeños, stemmed and seeded
1 medium yellow onion, quartered
8 garlic cloves
½ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped (roughly ¼ bunch)
1 lime, juiced (roughly 1 tablespoon)
Salt, to taste
1½ pounds boneless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup queso fresco, crumbled
½ cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
For the Avocado Corn Relish:
3 ears fresh corn, husks and silks removed
2 avocados, small dice
1 red onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, minced
3 garlic cloves, grated
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
⅓ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
For the Pickled Red Onions:
1 cup red onion, thinly sliced into rings
1 cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1. Make the empanada dough: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, masa harina, baking powder and salt. Stir in the melted butter then gradually add the water, working it in with your hands to incorporate. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
2. Make the filling: In a medium-size saucepan, add 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Add the tomatillos, jalapeños, onion and garlic. Simmer for 15 minutes until the tomatillos are soft. Drain and cool slightly. Combine the tomatillos, jalapeño, onion, garlic, cilantro and lime juice in a blender. Blend on medium speed for about 15 to 30 seconds or until it has a thin salsa consistency. Season to taste with salt and set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 400°. On a sheet pan, season the chicken with olive oil and salt. Roast the thighs for about 45 minutes or until they are thoroughly cooked. Remove the chicken from the oven and let cool. Once cool, finely shred the chicken. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, queso fresco and Monterey Jack cheese. Pour in 1½ cups of the green chile purée and fold the ingredients together. Reserve the extra green chile sauce and save for another day.
4. Make the corn relish: Place the corn in a large pot with enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Cook until the kernels are tender but crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and cool in cold water. Use a knife to scrape the kernels from the cobs. Place the kernels in a medium bowl. Stir in the avocados, red onions, bell peppers and garlic. Add the cumin, red pepper flakes and cilantro. Mix in the vinegar, olive oil and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Make the pickled onions: Bring all the pickled onion ingredients to a quick boil, and then turn off the heat.
6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Lightly flour your rolling pin and counter. Divide the dough in half so it will be easier to work with and roll it out to a ⅛-inch thickness. Using a 4-inch cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out circles of dough and repeat with the other half. To maximize the dough, roll the scraps back together and repeat the process. Spoon 2 tablespoons of filling into the center of each dough circle, leaving a ½-inch border. Brush the edges with the egg wash and fold the dough in half to enclose the filling and form a semicircle. Tightly seal the edges by crimping with the tines of a fork. Chill at least 30 minutes before baking.
7. Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the empanadas on a buttered baking sheet and brush the tops with additional egg wash. Using a fork, prick a few holes into the tops of the empanadas for steam to escape. Bake for 35 minutes, until golden brown. Top with the avocado corn relish and pickled onions, and serve.