Friday, August 19, 2011

Cheater Chick'n & Cheeze Empanadas: Pockanadas?

The golden, crispy exterior

I hate to call these empanadas. I feel like I'm doing a huge disservice to that which is a true empanada. So, we'll say these are somewhere between a super fancy hot pocket and an empanada. Fancy Pockanada? No? I'll work on it. But I definitely see Hot Pocket stealing that from me. THEN who will have the last laugh?

That being said, these are insanely delicious. Inside, the Daiya cheese and cream sauce melt together to make a phenomenally decadent center. The gardein chicken is strong enough to handle all the cooking, so it retains it's flaky, chicken-like consistency. A little jalapeno makes for a touch of heat. A handful of spinach to make you feel good about it. And the puff pastry outside... well, find me someone who hates puff pastry. We'll talk.

These crazy Pockanadas just make me want dance to Grant Green like a mad woman.

"Oh yeah. I can cook"

Enough talk. Here's the recipe:

Cheater Chick'n & Cheeze Empanadas
I'm going to say this serves about 4 people. Although, we definitely ate it all ourselves. But we crazy!!

- 1 package of puff pastry sheets - they come in the scary tubes like the biscuits (Read the label, always! Companies are constantly changing their recipes, and they might not be vegan forever.)
- 2 tablespoons earth balance plus 1 tsp minced garlic melted together
- Onion powder & chili powder 

- 1 package of frozen Gardein scallopini (4 Gardein "fillets")
- 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1/2 to 3/4 of a bag of Daiya mozzarella cheeze (more or less depending on cheesiness preference)
- 1/4 cup chopped pickles jalapenos (or no-pickled ones are good, too)
- 1 packed cup baby spinach
- 1 cream sauce recipe

Cream Sauce:
- 1.5 tablespoons earth balance
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, or chickpea flour, or brown rice flour (thickening flour)
- 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
- 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning, I like Tony Chachere's, OR make your own

  1. Preheat your oven to the temperature your puff pastry can says to. If you use a real empanada recipe, do whatever temperature that says to.
  2. Put Daiya cheese, spinach & jalapenos in a bowl.
  3. Heat up about 1-2 tablespoons of oil on medium/high heat. Get your Gardein out. Season each side with a dash of salt and pepper. Maybe a little of the chili powder if you want to. Grill each side of the Gardein fillets in a pan until golden and crispy. Shouldn't take more than 2-3 minutes per side. 
  4. Remove the Gardein from heat. Let cool. With that same pan of oil, cook your onions until soft and translucent. Add onions to your Daiya mixture.
  5. Start your cream sauce by heating up the earth balance on medium heat. Once heated and bubbling, add your flour and whisk it until you have a creamy yet thick consistency. Add more flour as needed. Whisk in your cajun seasoning. Let bubble for about 1 minute. Add your soy milk. Whisk again until incorporated. Let simmer until thickened. Add more seasoning as a necessary.
  6. Remove from heat and set aside. 
  7. Cube your cooked Gardein, and add it to your Daiya mixture. Stir. 
  8. While still warm, mix in your cream sauce. Your Daiya should melt a little but not completely.
  9. Open up your puff pastry can. Put a dusting layer of flour on your CLEAN counter or cutting board. Unroll the pastry onto it. While you work the pastry, melt your earth balance/garlic mixture.
  10. Now, here's where you can do what you want. I've made these twice. You probably won't use all of your filling, which is nice. Because then you can refrigerate it and make some more later! So, you can either:
    1. Roll out the pastry. Use a giant bowl and trace empanada circles. Cut out your circles, fill half of the circle with your filling - about 1/4 of a cup. Fold it in half sort of like a football. Use a little of your earth balance mixture to seal it shut. Cut 2 air slits on top and baste with a little of the earth balance mixture (to make it golden brown).  Top with a pinch of onion powder and a pinch of chili powder. Bake on a greased cookie sheet per package instructions: 7-12 minutes - until golden brown on top.
    2. Now, if you're super hungry, you can do what I did the second time out of laziness. Roll out the dough a little thinner than how it comes out of the can. Put about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of your filling in the center. Fold your pastry in half and seal shut with earth balance mixture. Again, cut 3-4 air slits. Baste with earth balance mixture. Season with onion powder and chili powder. Bake on a greased cookie sheet per package instructions: 7-12 minutes - until golden brown on top.

When done, let cool for 2 minutes. Cut into 4-6 squares.


Andrew Warner said...

I remember those... Those are so good. I could eat them every day. And I should.

Anonymous said...

Makes me miss the empanadas from On The Fly.