Thai Chicken Empanadas

Menu Part: 
Appetizer
Cuisine Type: 
Latin
Serves: 
About 5 dozen empanadas

Fusing the flavors of two on-trend cuisines is one way to attract adventurous palates. Although empanadas originated in Latin America and rely on ingredients from that part of the world, Zengo Chef-owner Richard Sandoval gives them a Thai accent with the sweet chili sauce known as mae ploy. A few spoonfuls of mango chutney complete the plate.

Ingredients

Diced meat from 1 roast chicken (about 5 cups, or 2 lb. diced meat)
2 poblano chilies
4 tsp. olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper
2 cups finely diced onions
1 bunch cilantro, minced
3/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce (mae ploy)
4 lb. puff pastry
12 oz. Oaxaca cheese, shredded
All-purpose flour, for dusting
3 qt. frying oil 

Steps

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Rub chilies with 2 tsp. oil, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Wrap chilies in foil and roast in oven until softened, about 30 min., checking every 10 min.

2. Remove from oven and set foil-wrapped chilies aside until cool enough to handle. Peel and seed chilies; cut into a small dice.

3. Heat a large sauté pan over med.-high heat. Add 2 tsp. oil and sauté onions until translucent, stirring frequently, about 8 min. Remove from heat.

4. Assemble filling: In a large bowl, combine diced chicken, diced poblanos, onions, 1½ tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, cilantro, Thai sweet chili sauce and Oaxaca cheese. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. (You should have a generous 6 cups filling.) Cover and refrigerate filling until chilled, at least 1 hr. or overnight.

5. Roll out puff pastry 1 sheet at a time on a lightly floured board. Cut out rounds using a 3½-in. biscuit cutter. (You should get 16 to 18 rounds from each pound of puff pastry.)

6. Fill each round with about 1½ tbsp. chilled chicken filling. To fold the empanada, place the round in your hand. With the fingers of your other hand, press the filling down as you are clamping the pastry into a taco or moon shape. (It may seem as if there is too much filling at first, but dough will stretch as you press filling down.) Seal the empanada by pressing edges with fingers; crimp with fork to seal completely. Refrigerate empanadas until ready to fry.

7. Heat frying oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot to 350°F. To order, fry empanadas three at a time until golden-brown, about 3 min. Drain on rack or paper towel-lined baking sheet. Serve immediately.

Recipe by Zengo Chef-owner Richard Sandoval, Santa Monica, Calif.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

K-12 foodservice participating in federal nutrition programs soon could fall into some extra cheese. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is set to buy 11 million pounds of cheese to raise plummeting prices, the result of a dairy glut. The acquired product will be distributed to federal nutrition programs, which might include WIC, SNAP and Child Nutrition Programs, and food banks.

The purchase falls short of a call from Congress, unions, special interest groups and commodity organizations for a $150 million buyout of dairy assets to mitigate the 35% drop in dairy revenues—a 30-year...

Ideas and Innovation
cardboard takeout box

The death knell keeps ringing for polystyrene containers. A story Monday in the Chicago Tribune reports that a man who provided free recycling for the foam products in 10 area communities is shutting down his services, citing expense and logistical difficulties, and leaving few options for diverting the material from landfills.

“From a business perspective, there is no market for [recycled polystyrene foam]. It's difficult to sell,” Beth Lang, facilities and general services manager at the Recycling Drop-Off Center in Naperville, Ill., told the Tribune. “The second reason, and more...

Industry News & Opinion

Students at Martin Luther College will be able to cook their own food in the cafeteria this year, thanks to the addition of a new self-cook station installed during the cafeteria’s renovation, The Journal reports.

In addition to the self-cook station, which contains induction cookers, the revamped cafeteria at the New Ulm, Minn., school will include new pizza equipment, a panini grill, tiled floors, poured countertops and new arrangements to make the cafeteria appear more open.

"We wanted to make it look more like a restaurant and not like a cafeteria," Director of Dining...

Industry News & Opinion

Two chefs at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., are trying to help solve the Mars food dilemma, myfoxspokane.com reports .

Just outside the school’s cafeteria, Executive Chef Timothy Grayson and his partner, Christine Logan-Travis, are trying their hand at growing tomatoes, oregano, basil and other plants in Martian Regolith Soil, the closest soil on Earth to that found on the fourth planet from the sun.

All of the plants in the Mars-inspired garden are intended for human consumption.

“It is a reality that at some point, if man goes to Mars, they will need to...

FSD Resources