Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my mom and other loved ones dear to me that have passed. I’ll catch glimpses of them in other people’s smile, the flowers, the wind, and the stars at night. Still, I enjoy the idea of having one day where we outwardly show our love for those who have moved to “the other world” every November 2 with a holiday tradition called, Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). It’s a special time when families show their love for the deceased with processions and by adorning altars with sugar skulls, framed family photographs, orange marigolds, tequila, candles and candies, plus their favorite food.
I enjoy making beloved foods during this holiday. You know, foods that warm the kitchen and the heart. This year we are celebrating the occasion by developing a sweet and savory Chicken and Apple Empanada. We liked the sweet and spicy nature of the filling. The chiles and cilantro blended perfectly with the brown sugar and cinnamon. We used Mazola Corn Oil to fry the empanadas because we learned recently that it is actually one of the healthiest oils for your heart.
Below you’ll find the recipe for Chicken and Apple Empanadas.
- 1 Whole chicken, roasted with salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons Mazola Corn Oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 to 3 fresh jalapeno chiles
- 1 medium celery, small dice
- 2 apples (Fuji or Granny Smith), peeled and diced
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon salt (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
- Roast a whole chicken. Allow to cool and shred.
- Place a large, deep skillet on medium high heat.
- Place the Mazola Corn Oil in the skillet. Add the onions and garlic and saute for about two minutes.
- Add the chiles and celery and continue the sauteing for another two minutes, then add the apple.
- Add the chicken broth, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, and cinnamon and stir. Let simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add the shredded chicken to the apple mixture and allow to cook for another 15 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool just a bit to fill the empanada dough rounds.
Empanada Dough Recipe
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons butter
1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup cold water (more or less to bring dough to proper consistency)
Sift the flour with salt, baking powder and sugar.
Place half of the flour in a large mixing bowl.
Make a well in the center.
Place the lard, butter, eggs, and water in the well.
Use an electric or stand mixer to mix ingredients into a paste, or use your hands.
Continue to mix, gradually adding more flour until all the flour is added
You may need to add water – slowly and in small quantities-until the dough reaches a soft, pliable consistency, like pie dough.
Place the dough in a bowl, cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces (keep the pieces you aren’t using in the refrigerator until you need them); use a floured rolling-pin to roll out the dough about 1/8 inch thick.
Cut the dough into a large, rough circle. (Don’t worry about making a perfect circle. Using a glass or round cookie cutter works well.)
Put some filling in the center of the circle and fold over to make a half circle.
Seal the edges of the dough with your fingers to make a scalloped edge, you can wet the edges a bit to make sure they are sealed and use a fork to mark the edges.
Instructions For Pan Frying:
In a large frying pan, add enough Mazola Corn Oil to cover the empanadas completely.
Heat oil to the frying stage, about 360 to 375 degrees F.
Fry the empanadas in the oil, turning occasionally until brown on all sides.
Drain on paper towels and serve hot!
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