EPISODE 13: CHICKEN POT PIE EMPANADAS

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Oh the cold weather has really hit us here in Ohio. We have had a couple of weeks of snow, below freezing temps, and lots of days bundled up in multiple layers. When it’s this bad out all I want is comfort food. Hot, spicy, comfort food! On that list of warm me up recipes is of course soup, especially chick potpie. It’s probably one of the simplest soups to make and customize.

I received a request a ways back from Ashlee by way of Halfsizeme.com. She’s a newlywed who’s husband is also a big fan of the delightful pot pie. So I decided to take this classic and make it portable. I mean WHY not. It’s freezing out. It’s nice to have soup at home but, if you can make it portable, how much cooler is that? So viola I decided to make Empanada style potpie.

Portable pastry stuffed pies are not new. This recipes could have also been called a British Pasty, a news twist on the Italian calzones, or a close cousin to the Indian Samosa. But, whatever you want to call it please call it DELICIOUS! What’s more they are perfect ways to customize your favorite portable meals. This recipe is by no means the only way to make these pot pies. Instead I am giving you MY way of doing it.

The classic chicken potpie is a rather straightforward adventure. You start with a stock of either chicken or vegetable. You reduce the stock down and thicken it with veggies of your choice, a slurry of flour, butter and cream.  In my recipes I left out the last two ingredients. Don’t get me wrong I love butter but, I really didn’t feel I needed it and that was an easy way to reduce the calories. I am also lactose intolerant so bye bye to the cream/milk. Other that that I added some personal twists. I adding kale and spinach in lieu of green peas (I don’t like green peas). I also didn’t want any potatoes in mine, which I’ve seen others do. I started with a homemade chicken stock that had lots of dill and poultry season to it. Lastly, I used store bought Empanada wrappers but, you can also use pie crust or make your own dough. I however, am much much too lazy to cut and roll out individual circles of dough. Goya makes a wonderful empanada wrapper either in the “plain” white dough or the one I used which is orange. I am not quite sure what the ingredient is that makes them the darker color except for maybe saffron and food coloring. Either way they don’t really taste much different to me.  But, what’s amazing about the pre-made wrappers is they are ready to go yes but, they also have perfectly cut little wax paper squares; which are great for separating the finished product when you’re freezing them so they don’t stick together!

I made like thirty of these little portable pies. Half were filled with chicken pot pie, some with sweet potato whip filling (soo good), and also left over spanakopita filling. So my freezer is choke full with deliciousness that will last me for a while. Simple, nutritious, and delicious!

Bon Appetit

          CHICKEN POT PIE EMPANADAS

1-2 cups       Shredded Chicken  (home roasted/store rotisserie works great!)

2 cups          Chicken or Vegetable Stock

½ cup          Diced Carrots

1 lg               Onion

6-10              Cloves of Garlic  (I am a HUGE fan of garlic. Use less if you like)

1 cup            Diced Kale

1 cup            Fresh Spinach

1/3 cup        Flour   (I used buckwheat but any kind works)

Favorite seasonings: Dill, Rosemary, Poultry Seasoning,  are a few that work best for me. I also added a pinch of salt and lots of cayenne pepper.

DIRECTIONS

  1. I put my chicken stock on medium and cooked until it reduced by 1/3
  2. I added all my vegetables to cook down for another 5-10 minutes. I pulverized my garlic and onion in the food processor before adding. I like  those to be tiny for this recipe.
  3. When the mixture is nearly done I take a ladle full of hot stock and place into a bowl. I add the flour into the stock and stir vigorously until it was well incorporated. Then I add this to the stock to thicken.
  4. When the sauce starts clinging to the spoon thick I turn it off. I then add the chicken. I don’t add the chicken early because I use precooked chicken. If you are using raw chicken add a few minutes after the vegetables so it will be sufficiently cooked.
  5. If you are using cream/milk you would add that here in the end.
  6. Allow this to COOL! You don’t want to burn yourself trying to fill the discs.

PART TWO

  1. Once cooled it’s time to fill your defrosted Empanada Discs/Dough. I used one of those awesome pie crimping molds to make my empanadas. It cost me literally 4 dollars at Walmart. I love that thing! I gave the dough a couple of quick passes with the rolling pin and they were ready to go. I placed the discs over my crimper. I added the sauce and crimped it together. Note: don’t over fill. It will squish out and be a tasty mess. It took me two times to get the right amount which was roughly 3 tablespoons.
  2. I used my Goya wax paper to individually wrap my empanadas for freezing.
  3. If cooking right away then heat the oven to 375. I used parchment paper as my base so I didn’t need any oils or sprays to coat the pan but, you may need to if you aren’t using parchment paper. I also didn’t use an egg wash but, that helps for a more golden look.
  4. Cook until golden and cooked through. The time will vary here based on if they were frozen or not before cooking. But I usually leave them in for roughly 15 minutes. I can always SMELL the contents all through the house to know they are done but, wait until the crust is browned before taking them out.
  5. Voila! Enjoy

NUTRITIONAL TIDBITS

Chicken: Tryptophan, B3 (niacin), Protein, Selenium, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus. People who are meat eaters, but are looking for ways to reduce the amount of fat in their meals, can try eating more chicken. The leanest part of the chicken is the chicken breast, which has less than half the fat of a trimmed Choice grade T-bone steak. The fat in chicken is also less saturated than beef fat. However, eating the chicken with the skin doubles the amount of fat and saturated fat in the food. For this reason, chicken is best skinned before cooking. Selenium is of fundamental importance to human health. It is an essential component of several major metabolic pathways, including thyroid hormone metabolism, antioxidant defense systems, and immune function. Chicken is a very good source of the cancer-protective B vitamin. Components of DNA require niacin, and a deficiency of niacin (as well as other B-complex vitamins) has been directly linked to genetic (DNA) damage. A four-ounce serving of chicken provides 72.0% of the daily value for niacin.  Tryptophan has gotten a bum rap for making us tired during Thanksgiving Turkey, but the reality is it’s the over imbibing and over eating not the turkey making you tired. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid. In addition to its role in protein synthesis, it is the precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin and of B3.

Onions:Chromium, Vitamin C, Dietary Fiber, Manganese, Molybdenum, Vitamin B6, folate, Potassium, Phosphorus, quercitin and Copper. This multifaceted food is found in so many recipes for it’s distinct flavor but is often overlooked for its many healthy properties. Onions are very rich in chromium, a trace mineral that helps cells respond to insulin and lowering blood sugar. Chromium levels are depleted by the consumption refined sugars and white flour products as well as the lack of exercise. One cup of raw onion contains over 20% of the Daily Value for this important trace mineral.  B6, Chromium and sulfur in onions also helps to lower high blood pressure and high Cholesterol. Onions like garlic has been shown to support gastrointestinal health, and contain anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.

Garlic: Manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Selenium, Calcium, Phosphorus, Vitamin B1,Copper, and Protein. Garlic has many great properties, but is known for its Anti-Inflammatory, Antibacterial and Antiviral Activity, Cardiovascular health, and potential reduction in certain forms of cancer.

Spinach is being touted as a super food and with good reason. Count all 22 of it’s vitamins and minerals and you can see why: Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Manganese, Folate, Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Calcium, Potassium, Vitamin B6, Tryptophan, Vitamin E, Fiber, Copper, Vitamin B1 (thiamin), Protein, Phosphorus, Zinc, Omega 3, Vitamin B3, Selenium. 1 cup on average gives you 300% of your daily Vitamin A and 100 % of Vitamin K, 80% of Manganese and 65% of folate. Not to mention all the phytonutrients…HELLO powerhouse.

Vitamin K: Not just some throw away vitamin. K is vital to blood clotting properly, protecting bones from fracturing and bone loss, prevents calcification of arteries (cardiovascular disease), promising in preventing liver and prostate cancers.?Selenium: Vital to thyroid health, Anti-oxidant that protects cells against free radical damage, lowers risk of joint inflammation (rheumatoid arthritis), helps to repair DNA in damaged cells.

Vitamin E: protects skin from ultraviolet light (natural sun protection? maybe), prevents cell damage from free radicals, shown to protect again prostrate and bladder cancer and dementia/Alzheimer’s, allows cells to “talk” to each other properly.

Vitamin A: Keeps your eye sight healthy and helps to fight off viral infection. (hello cold season!), helps cells grow properly, and works to regulate your metabolism.

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