Puff pastry is my new best friend of late — I just love how it’s light, buttery, flaky and so, so tasty when making both sweet and savory dishes, from appetizers to entrees to desserts.
The chicken and black bean filling for these empanadas/puff pastries is based on a recipe I’ve been tweaking for years for my delicious quesadillas. You can make it as spicy or mild as you want by adjusting the amount of hot sauce and cayenne pepper.
So here’s the deal — this recipe is great as an appetizer with the empanadas, or as an entrée with the puff pastry. The empanadas naturally take more time to make since they are smaller, but the results are stellar, especially if you have the preparation time. The puff pastry version of this is simply divine and easier to prepare, and is more like a meal instead of an appetizer. Serve with salsa, guacamole, and/or sour cream.
Can’t choose? Make both like I did, which yielded 12 empanadas and 4 puff pastries – yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!
Ingredients (Makes 24 empanadas or 8 puff pastries)
- 2 puff pastry sheets, thawed
- flour for dusting
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup sweet onions, diced small
- ¾ cup red bell pepper, diced small
- 1 (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1½ cups cooked, chicken, shredded
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Hot sauce, to taste
- 1 (10 oz.) can Ro-tel diced tomatoes & green chilies, drained
- 1 ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar (not pictured)
- 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water, beaten to make egg wash
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add onion and bell peppers and sauté for a few minutes. Add the black beans and garlic and cook for another few minutes.
Add the chicken, cumin, cayenne, chili powder, oregano, salt, pepper, hot sauce and diced tomatoes. Stir to combine, and cook until heated through. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper.
If you’re making empanadas, lay out a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and lightly flour the top of the dough. Roll out the dough so that you will have enough to make 12 circles approximately 4 inches in diameter. Repeat with the other sheet of puff pastry. You may need to gather and roll out dough scraps to ensure you have enough to make 24 empanadas.
Gently remove each circle of dough and place on a cutting board. Place 1½ tablespoons of the chicken and black bean mixture in the center of each empanada.
Top with one tablespoon of cheese.
Lightly brush the edge of half of a circle with egg wash and fold over, pinch edges tightly to seal. Place on prepared baking sheet.
Spread empanadas apart so they are not touching each other on the baking sheet. Brush them with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown, approximately 20-25 minutes. Let empanadas cool on a baking rack for several minutes before serving.
Enjoy with sour cream, salsa, or just on their own.
If you choose to make puff pastries instead of the empanadas, roll out each sheet of the pastry into a 14 x 14 square (more or less, depending on how thick you want the pastry.) Slice into four equal parts (a pizza cutter works well for this step.)
Place 1/8 of the chicken and black bean mixture on each piece of pastry. Top the filling with most of the cheese, reserving about ¼ cup.
Fold up the pastry from side-to-side and then top-to-bottom, making sure that each pastry is completely sealed. Pierce each pastry a few times with a fork to let steam escape while cooking. Sprinkle each pastry with the remaining cheese.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for several minutes and, just like the empanadas, serve with sour cream, salsa, or just on their own.
These taste as awesome as they look!
Whatever version you choose to enjoy, leftovers are easily reheated in the microwave — 20 to 30 seconds for the empanadas and 45 seconds or so for the puff pastries, depending on the wattage of your microwave.