Happy New Year! I hope your holiday break was just what you needed. I spent a lot of time in my pajamas, read 2 books and spent time with friends and family. It was perfect. Today I’m sharing a guest post from Kate Ramos of Hola Jalapeño. If you haven’t visited her blog, you’ll be blown away by her creative take on latin-inspired food. For example: Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder, Seeded Pull-Apart Rolls + Warm Green Chile Queso and Pumpkin Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars, to name a few of my favorites. Her marriage to a handsome Mexican man whom she refers to as “The Professor” was the catalyst for her love of all things latin. And seriously, don’t these empanadas sound amazing? Welcome, Kate!
We took our winter vacation early this year, which was wise because winter decided to come to North Dakota waaaayyyy earlier than expected. An arctic, icy blast hailed down from Canada around the 12th of November making the actual temperature outside about -22°F. My fears of reliving the polar vortex of last year came streaming back and we hopped a plane as quick as we could to Miami.
While we were there we celebrated The Professor’s birthday. Joined by several other friends, we were a large group, 14 total I think, so going out to a restaurant was basically out of the question. We decided to order food from one of our favorite Cuban restaurants, Puerto Sagua. I might have gone a little overboard in ordering, though. I got picadillo, croquettas, pork spare ribs, and tostones. Ropa Vieja, roasted pork shoulder, and heaps of yellow rice. I also made sure not to forget their chicken empanadas with Mojo sauce—they are transcendent. The chicken is so tender and flavorful the dough so flaky, and when dipped in the spicy garlic sauce, damn near close to perfection.
I’ve been dreaming about those empanadas for weeks now. I knew I would never be able to replicate the ones I had in Miami, but thought I could make my own, slightly easier version that would satisfy my cravings. The crust is easy, store-bought puff pastry, which if you get the all-butter kind, bakes up nice and flaky. As for the chicken, I used boneless, skinless thighs to maximize the flavor. I gently poached them and then cooked the poached, shredded chicken with a one-two punch of chipotles chiles and saffron. I did try to keep the Mojo sauce as true as possible, there really is no substitute for its citrus and garlic flavors.
These empanadas with a little salad make a scrumptious dinner and if there are leftovers you can reheat one or two in the oven the next day for lunch, but I wouldn’t bet on that.