Roasted Chicken, Corn, and Zucchini Pockets

August 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

pockets with empanada filling

I have a love/hate relationship with these pockets. I LOVE having them in my freezer–they’re perfect to grab when you’re running out the door and need a meal that’s portable and easy to eat on the go. They are a complete meal, all wrapped up in a delicious whole wheat package, ready and waiting for you. But, they are a real process.  I promise, though, they are worth it! I’m never happier than when I have a stock of these and my meal prep is essentially taken care of. These pockets are freezer gold.

corn and zucchini on baking sheet

I’ve made these pockets a couple of times now, and I’ve learned that the best way to keep your sanity is to make the filling the day before you plan to assemble the pockets. The second day, you can make the dough, let it rise, and assemble and bake off the pockets.

 

 

pockets before baking

whole wheat empanada filling

This version is a mish mash of recipes from The Kitchn. The original pocket recipe I first stumbled across is this one, which has kale, lentils, and sweet potato. My mom and I actually made that version for the first time last year while on vacation in the Vineyard. I’ve also made a Greek version with the filling from this recipe, and a Jamaican version with the filling from this recipe, but this time, the empanada filling from this recipe stole the show.

whole flour and yeast dissolved in water

whole wheat dough with yeast and olive oil

shaggy whole wheat dough

Whole Foods had rotisserie chickens on sale the day I was making this recipe, so I threw that in, but you could easily use black beans, pinto beans, or both, if you want to make them vegetarian.

dough covered in plastic wrap

I hope you’ll try these pockets, despite the time commitment. Your weekday harried self will thank you for putting in some time in the kitchen over the weekend!

risen whole wheat dough

whole wheat balls of dough

pockets folded over pockets with crimped edges baked whole wheat pockets

Roasted Chicken, Corn, and Zucchini Pockets

  • Servings: 12 pockets
  • Print

Adapted from The Kitchn: here and here

Note: As mentioned above, these pockets are a project and a half. I recommend making the filling the day before you make the pockets. For your planning, the filling takes about 30 minutes hands on time to make, plus 25 minutes of hands off time while the veg is in the oven. For the dough, it takes me about 20-30 minutes to combine and knead the dough. The dough then has to rise for 1-2 hours, plus 20 minutes. Assembling the pockets takes me about 30 minutes, and then they bake for 25 minutes. Total time on pocket making day? Hands on time: little over an hour, hands off time, two to three hours.

For the Dough:

2 cups warm water

4 teaspoons active dry yeast

3 cups whole wheat flour

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons olive oil

For the Filling:

3 medium zucchini, cubed

kernels from 2 ears of corn or 2 cups frozen corn, thawed

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, or 1 1/2 cups black beans and/or pinto beans

1/4 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or monterey jack work well, but really anything you have in the fridge)

1 cup thinly sliced green onion

6 tablespoons roughly chopped clilantro

4 tablespoons diced green chiles (1 4 oz can)

2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon chile powder

The day before you make the pockets, prepare the filling:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Add the zucchini and corn to the baking sheets, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the edges of the zucchini cubes are brown.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the roasted zucchini and corn, and the remaining filling ingredients (chicken or beans through chile powder) and mix well.
  5. Store the filling in the fridge until you make the pockets.

The next day, make the dough:

  1. Add the yeast and water to a medium bowl. Stir and let sit until the yeast dissolves in the water.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flours and salt, and mix thoroughly.
  3. Add the olive oil and yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.
  4. Flour your counter, or place a piece of parchment down and then flour the paper, and dump the dough out on the floured surface.
  5. Knead the dough for 7-10 minutes. I push the dough down with the heels of my hands, fold it in half, then rotate it. Then, I push it down, fold it,  and rotate it again. The dough should be smooth and pliable when you are done kneading it.
  6. Spray the sides of the bowl you made the dough in with cooking spray or lightly coat with olive oil.
  7. Place the ball of dough in the bowl and cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap.
  8. Let the dough sit for 1-2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.
  9. Leave your counter messy and covered in flour, as you will roll out the pockets on your counter in the next part.

When the dough is done rising:

  1. Divide the dough into 12 balls and let sit for another 20 minutes. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and take the filling out of the fridge.
  3. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. When the 20 minutes are up, roll out a ball of of dough on your floured surface into a 9 inch oval, as best as you can.
  5. Add two tablespoons of the filling to the bottom half of the pocket, leaving the edges uncovered.
  6. Fold the top half over the filling and press the edges together to seal. Then fold the edges up to make sure the filling is nice and secure in the pocket.
  7. Transfer the pocket to the baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining dough.
  8. Brush the top of the pockets with olive oil and use a knife to cut a few slits in the top of each pocket.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the pockets are brown.
  10. Let cool for 5 minutes before eating. To freeze, let cool completely, place the baking sheets with the pockets in the freezer until frozen, and then wrap the pockets in plastic wrap and transfer to freezer bags.
  11. To defrost a pocket, I usually let it sit in the fridge overnight, and then take it out of the fridge an hour or so before I want to eat it so it comes to room temperature. You could also take the pocket out of the freezer before you leave for the day, and let it defrost in your bag or lunch box. If I can heat them up before eating (meaning I have access to a microwave and/or toaster), I’ll zap them in the microwave for 30 seconds, then bake or toast in the toaster oven, but they taste delicious at room temperature too.

 

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