Avocado Leaf Chicken Empanadas

There’s a lot that goes into this meal.  It will take some time, but its a great way to add a lot of flavor to chicken, which I find to be boring and bland in most dishes.  The ingredients are cheap and they taste great assembled correctly, which is always a huge plus.

Musical pairing: The Dillinger Escape Plan: Option Paralysis.





The Chicken
2 Chicken Breasts
1 Green Pepper – Juliened
1 White Onion – Juliened
1 Large Clove Garlic – Diced
3 TBL Olive Oil
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cayenne
1/2 Tsp Cumin
1/4 Tsp Dried Epazote (omit if you cannot find)
1/2 tsp Mexican Oregano
1/2 Can of Dry Beer
1 Dried Guajillo Pepper (seeded)
2 Dried Ancho Peppers (seeded)
2 Dried Avocado Leaves

In a heavy pan that you can cover, I use a cast iron dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Once hot, add the onion and green pepper and cook till onions are translucent, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and stir. Now add in all of the ground spices, seasonings and beer.  Stir, well and taste then adjust the salt content if needed, you want this to taste like its under seasoned as the liquid will reduce and the salt flavor will become more concentrated.  Now lay the dried guajillo and ancho peppers down and lay the chicken on top of those and finally lay the avocado leaves ontop of the chicken.  Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for at least one hour.

At this point, the chicken should be fork tender, if it isn’t, leave on the heat and cook until it is. Shred the chicken with two forks and mix into the mixture of sauce and vegetables.

1 cup corm flour
1 cup water
1 tbl salt
1 1/2 tsp cumin
Vegetable or Canola Oil
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.  Roughly divide this mixture into 4 pieces and roll them into spheres with you hands. Put these spheres into a plastic lined tortilla press to make the empanada skins.  If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can place the dough between layers of plastic wrap and then use a large pot or frying pan to smush the dough flat enough to be used as the skins for the empanadas.

Heat the veggie or canola oil in a deep pan to 350 degrees.

To form the empanadas, leave the dough flats in one of the pieces of plastic wrap, spoon enough of the shredded chicken to fill the empanada leaving about 3/4″ of space around the sides. Gently fold the dough over and crimp the edges together with your fingers,do this very carefully as the dough is very delicate. Once formed, drop the empanada into the oil and fry for about 3 minutes or until golden brown.

Frijoles Refritos
1/2 lb of dried black beans
1 tbl salt
2 Dried Ancho Peppers
1 Dried Guajillo Pepper
2 tbl  pork fat or fat rendered from bacon
1/2 White Onion Chopped
1 Large clove of garlic chopped

Add beans, salt and dried peppers to a large pot and cover with water till there is about two inches of water above the beans.  Bring to a boil over high heat and cook like this for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for about two hours with the lid partially on.  Keep stirring and checking the pot as you will need to add more water as water evaporates. Start tasting the beans at about an hour and 45 minutes into cooking, they are don when they crumble in your mouth like a bean should.

After the beans are cooked, in a frying pan, melt the fat or render the fat from the bacon and cook the onions and garlic in it.  Run the beans through a food mill using the largest grate.  Spoon the beans in there quickly with a slotted spoon so you get some of the bean broth with you spoonfuls (if you don’t have a food mill you can get away with using a potato masher). If you are using a food mill just pass the rehydrated peppers through it, if not, fish them out and mince them before adding to the beans. Stir in the beans with the sauteed onions and garlic, use the left over bean broth to adjust the consistency of the refried beans and season to taste with salt.

Quick Pico
3 Tomatoes Diced
1/2 Red Onion Diced
1 Large Clove Garlic Diced
Juice from 1/2 a lime
1 tsp cumin

Mix all ingredients together and season with salt and pepper to taste.


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