Raising Free Range Chickens

Now that we have chickens, we have the occasional unwanted rooster. FYI city folk:  there really is no practical way you can neuter a rooster. No surgery, except for life removal.

But once that’s done, it’s time for a chicken dinner. Roosters are different than the plump white chickens neatly wrapped in plastic at the super market. The meat is stringier, more flavorful, and gamier than a farm raised chicken. I am not sure a ranch raised rooster would be a good for roasting, but when stewed, they are downright amazing.

Once the meat was stewed, I simply shredded it, and turned them into empanadas, one of my favorite easy dinners.

It’s the beginning of Hatch chile season, so I thought my strong flavored rooster meat and chiles would make a nice pair. The Hatch chiles I purchased ended up being rather spicy. You never know how spicy they will be until you roast them and add them to your dish. The eternal crap shoot.

A little bit of roux held my chicken filling together, and calmed the Hatch chiles down a bit. Did I need to add the bell pepper? Probably not. But I love the sweet flavor, and the color pop.

Hatch Chiles Empanadas can be Spicy

If you are completely opposed to spicy empanadas, then simply substitute another bell pepper for the hatch chiles. If you want crazy spicy empanadas, just take out the bell pepper and add more Hatch chiles.

This is a huge batch of empanadas, but they always go quickly. We take them for lunch, or have them as snacks the next day. You can invent a sauce to go along with your empanadas, but I always seem to forget. Maybe next time I will just put out the bottle of Sriracha on the table when we have empanadas. It’s also called Rooster Sauce, right?

Ingredients for Chicken Empanadas

I usually have these ingredients around the kitchen

Hatch Chiles Roasting on a Flame

I had just washed these

Charred Roasted Hatch Chiles

These are charring perfectly

Charred Roasted Hatch Chiles

This is an example of a chile that was over roasted. Ashy white residue means it was burnt.

Sweating Roasted Hatch Chiles

I have heard some objection to sweating chiles in plastic, but I do it anyway.

Chopped Vegetables for Chicken Empanadas

2/3 of a classic mirepoix, just exchanged red bell pepper for carrots. You can always substitute 2 peeled, chopped carrots for the red bell pepper if you like…

Chicken Filling for Empanadas

I would have eaten this straight from the pan, but man, those Hatch chiles were HOT!

Uncooked Chicken Empanadas

I love folding empanadas

Roasted Hatch Chiles

These still need a little scraping to remove all the peel. But these are perfectly roasted.

Chicken Empanadas with Red Bell and Hatch Peppers

This was my lunch. The two in the background were what was left for my husband.



Chicken Empanadas with Hatch and Red Bell Peppers

Chicken Empanadas with Red Bell and Hatch Peppers
  • Author: Melissa Guerra
  • Prep Time: 35 min
  • Cook Time: 25 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 30 Empanadas
  • Category: Baked Goods
  • Cuisine: Argentina


4 Hatch chiles

4 tbsp. butter (36gr)

1 small onion, minced

2 ribs celery with leaves, minced

1 small red bell pepper, cored and minced

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour (16gr)

1 cup chicken broth or water (240ml)

Salt and pepper to taste

4 cups cooked shredded chicken meat (450gr), skin removed

30 empanada crust discs, thawed


Heat a large 10” (25cm) skillet, and melt the butter. Add the onions, celery and bell pepper, and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the flour, and stir until all the butter is absorbed. Add the chicken broth or water, stirring well over a low heat until a sauce is formed. Remove from heat, and stir in the shredded chicken and roasted Hatch chiles. Combine well, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat your oven to 350°F/176°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a tablespoon, fill each of the empanada discs with 2-3 spoonfuls of chicken filling. Seal the edges well by crimping with a fork, or folding edge over. Place each empanada on the baking sheet until all are formed.

Bake the empanadas for 25 minutes, until they are crispy and golden brown. Remove from oven, and cook on wire racks.

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