At the end of this month I will be attending the third annual Eat Write Retreat conference for food bloggers. I’m so thrilled to be attending this year, it will be a jam packed weekend of eating (duh), photography and writing workshops and networking with fellow food bloggers and brands.
Eat Write Retreat, got the party started a little early by mailing out a huge surprise box of goodies to all attendees. The box was full of goods to use for their culinary apps challenge and to all of our pleasure lots of new kitchen toys from OXO.
As soon as my box arrived, I tore into it with anticipation. Would I be given potatoes, raisins, figs or olives to work with? Tossing all the packing aside, I unveiled a big beautiful package of. . . California Raisins! Raisins! Well I immediately knew I was going to be challenged, I love raisins, but working them into a savory appetizer would take some thought.Sorry Mr. Raisin but looks like Sir Pugsley claimed you as his own.
My mind circled through different savory raisin recipes, I could do my mom’s stuffed cabbage but that wouldn’t photograph well. Chicken salad with raisins is delicious but how to work that as an appetizer? Finally I figured I’d make some raisin crisps, I absolutely love them and it’d be fun to make my own. In the end though, I couldn’t get my first idea out of my head, I kept circling back to it and knew it had to be made. Empanadas traditionally have raisins in the filling and since they’d be a first for me too, it was meant to be.
I immediately knew my filling would be a combination of ingredients I was tossing around in my head and complemented these plump, sweet raisins. The dough was another story. Do you know how many empanada dough recipes come up when you search for it? A lot. In the end I referenced the dough recipe from girlichef.
Heather includes cream cheese in her dough, and explains that it was easy to roll out and the most tender and flaky she has ever had. I hate rolling out dough and I knew the added cream cheese would certainly make my life easier. Plus I must agree with Heather, the dough is outstanding and I’d eat it alone!
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ tablespoons pieces
- 4oz cream cheese, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
- 2-3 tablespoons cold water
- ½ lb skinless chicken breast, poached and shredded
- ½ cup California golden raisins
- ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, cut into ¼ inch dice
- 2 ounces goat cheese
- ¼ teaspoon dried time
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 1 egg, beaten
- In the bowl of your food processor, place the all-purpose flour, salt and butter and pulse until it resembles coarse meal.
- Add the cream cheese and pulse 3-4 more times or until the dough is combined.
- With the food processor running, dribble the water, 1 tablespoon at a time from the top. When the dough starts to come together you’ve added enough water.
- Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead it into a disc.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes – dough can be made ahead of time.
- In a saute pan over medium heat, add the shredded chicken breast, golden raisins, and sun-dried tomatoes.
- Stir in the dried thyme, cumin, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and pour the chicken stock over the chicken mixture.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the stock has mostly evaporated. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Transfer the filling to a medium bowl and mix it with the goat cheese. The heat from the filling will melt the goat cheese and coat the chicken. Let cool slightly.
- Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In between two pieces of lightly floured plastic wrap, roll out the dough until it is ¼ inch thick.
- With a 3-4 inch ring cutter (I used a cleaned 28oz can of tomatoes) cut out circles of dough. Re-roll the scraps and continue to cut out circles.
- Fill each circle with a heaping tablespoons of filling and fold the dough in half. Press firmly on the edges and seal by pressing down with the tines of a fork.
- Transfer the completed empanadas to your prepared baking sheet and brush the tops and seams with the beaten egg.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.
- Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
- Makes 12 empanadas.