Chicken Empanadas with Cilantro Cream Sauce
As a kid, one of my favorite snacks that my mom and abuela would make was pastelillos also known as empanadas to some. Pastelillos are turnovers filled with either meat or cheese. There are many opinions about the difference between empanadas and pastelillos. Some say empanadas are bigger than pastelillos; others say that pastelillos are made with more lard in the dough. But the two are more similar than they are different. Both are pastries, usually savory, made by folding dough around a filling of meat, cheese or other ingredients, then frying. Being that my father was Cuban and my mother is Puerto Rican the battle of calling them empanadas vs. pastelillos, was an argument that never ended while I was growing up. The thing is, these wonderful pastries when fried are high in saturated fat. Which is such a big No NO but so good that you must say YES YES!
My version is still as savory as my mama and abuela’s it’s just much healthier and less saturated in fat from the frying. For my version, I use chicken or turkey and I bake them. I make my dough with whole wheat flour but when I am pressed for time I grab a pack of Goya discos and whip up a batch. I also make my own dipping sauce for them. Nothing crazy just my spin on a Cilantro Cream Sauce. It’s not my mama’s but it sure is good! For this recipe we’ll be using the Goya discos.
2 cups peeled and medium-diced sweet potatoes Kosher salt 2 tablespoons olive oil 1-pound ground chicken 1 cup small diced red onions 1 teaspoon ground cumin 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup dry white wine 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves 1/3 cup diced green olives 1/3 cup red peppers
2 packs of Goya Discos
For the filling: Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, 5 to 10 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a large, pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and a pinch of salt and cook until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onion, cumin, and another pinch of salt to the browned chicken and continue cooking until the onions are translucent about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the wine, and cook until the wine is reduced by half. Stir in the cooked potatoes and chicken broth, and simmer for 15 minutes more.
Remove from the heat and stir in the olives, and cilantro. Place 2 tbs of chicken mixture to one of the discos, fold over and use a fork to press down and seal the sides. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining discos, spacing the formed empanadas a few inches apart.
Place baking sheet in the oven and bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Rotate the sheet and continue baking until the empanadas are golden-brown, about 10 minutes more. Let cool before serving.
Cilantro Cream Sauce
1 cup fat free plain yogurt
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 lime, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce: blend the yogurt, cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper