Empanada Rustica

"Bringing the heat with spices, peppers" by Michael Hastings. Dennis Baldwin and Ryan Cereceres won first place in the Spicy Chicken Contest at the Dixie Classic Fair with this casserole, loosely based on Latin empanadas. The chicken is cooked down to a thick, rich mixture resembling mole, then topped with a pie crust. Boneless, skinless chicken tenders may be used in place of the larger chicken pieces called for. Recipe published in the Winston-Salem Journal: October 12, 2011.

Yield: 1 serving ( Serving Size: casserole )
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  • 6 dried pasilla chili peppers
  • 6 dried ancho chili peppers
  • 6 dried arbol chili peppers
  • 6 dried chipotle peppers
  • 2 Anaheim chili peppers
  • 7 poblano chili peppers
  • Rendered pork fat, bacon or sausage drippings or vegetable oil
  • 2 jalapeno chili peppers, thinly sliced
  • 3 yellow sweet onions
  • 8 tomatillos
  • 3 pound(s) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and legs
  • 3 tablespoon(s) menudo spice mix
  • 2 tablespoon(s) ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoon(s) ground fennel seed
  • 1 16-ounce can(s) fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 head(s) roasted garlic
  • 2 tablespoon(s) molasses
  • 2 slice(s) toasted bread
  • 1/2 cup(s) ground toasted almonds
  • 1 quart(s) chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup(s) raisins
  • 1 tablespoon(s) ground star anise
  • 1 unbaked prepared pie crust
  • Egg wash (1 egg beaten with about 1 tablespoon water)


  1. 1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place the dried pasilla, ancho, arbol and chipotle peppers in a pot of hot water and let steep 45 minutes to soften.
  2. 2. Coat Anaheim and poblano peppers in pork fat or vegetable oil on baking pan. Place in oven and roast 30 minutes. Remove to a bowl and cover bowl in plastic wrap. Let sit 15 minutes.
  3. 3. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. When Anaheim and poblano peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the skins. Carefully slice in half and remove the seeds. Cut into ½-inch pieces and set aside.
  4. 4. Wearing gloves, remove softened dried peppers from water. Carefully split peppers and remove and discard all seeds. Sauté peppers in 1 tablespoon pork fat or vegetable oil for 5 minutes. Cool slightly, then finely dice.
  5. 5. Chop onions to a medium dice. Sauté in a thin film of pork fat or vegetable oil until onions are caramelized. Set aside.
  6. 6. Remove husks from tomatillos; core and wash them. Slice them in half and grill until charred on one side.
  7. 7. Season chicken with menudo spice, cinnamon and fennel seed. Brown chicken on all sides in a large skillet with a thin film of pork fat or vegetable oil. Set aside.
  8. 8. In a stockpot over medium heat, place fire-roasted tomatoes, dried peppers, roasted garlic, half of the caramelized onions, molasses, toasted bread, almonds, chicken stock, raisins, star anise and tomatillos. Use an immersion blender to blend all ingredients until smooth (or briefly transfer to a blender or food processor and puree). Add diced poblano and Anaheim peppers, remaining caramelized onions and browned chicken. Braise uncovered at a low simmer for 1½ hours.
  9. 9. Use tongs to remove chicken from pot. Remove bones. Remove skin if desired. Return meat to pot to cook for 30 more minutes.
  10. 10. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Transfer contents of pot to large casserole dish. Cover with prepared pie crust. Brush with egg wash and bake until golden brown.
December 2011

This recipe is a personal recipe added by psfreeman and has not been tested or endorsed by MyRecipes.

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