Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chicken and Rice Empanadas

Is this a gourmet recipe? 


Does is have a great presentation? 


OK, well is it healthy at least? 

Not really.

Fine.  But is it easy? 

It sure is!

This has been my go-to meal for over 8 years now.  I make it if it's 5:30 and friends are coming for dinner at 6 and I haven't had time to clean the house yet.   I make it when I'm in the ubiquitous Dinner Rut and haven't the creativity or desire to put any effort into dinner preparation.  And I make it and deliver it to my local friends who've just had a baby.

While it will never grace the cover of Bon Appetit, I appreciate its simplicity.  Kids seem to like it, too (bonus points).  And the filling variations are endless (more bonus points).

Chicken and Spanish Rice Empanadas
Makes 2 large empanadas (entree for 4 adults)

2 Pillsbury Rolled Pie Crusts (1 box)

3 chicken breasts, sauteed, seasoned, and diced
1-5.6 ounce package of Lipton's Spanish Rice mix
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Egg Wash (optional)
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Remove the two pie crusts from the box and let them sit on the counter while you prepare the filling.

Saute the chicken breasts (season with salt and pepper, if desired) until cooked through.  Set aside.  Let cool for a few minutes and then dice.

In a large skillet, prepare the Spanish rice according to package directions.  When all the water has been absorbed (about 5-7 minutes), add the diced chicken to the skillet and stir well.

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, unroll one "roll" of pie dough.  Spoon half of the rice mixture on one half of the pie dough (so that when you fold over the other side of the pie dough you will create a half-circle).  Sprinkle 1 cup of the cheese over the rice mixture.  Fold the dough over and crimp the edge.     

Repeat with second roll of pie dough.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg and add the heavy cream.  Use a pastry brush to apply the egg mixture to the empanadas.

Note:  The egg wash creates a pretty glazed look on the baked empanadas, but it's completely optional.  Unfortunately it wastes almost a whole egg (maybe you could scramble it!)

Bake for 25-30 minutes, just until golden brown and fragrant.