Chicken or Turkey Pot Pie Empanadas

Makes 20-24 Mini Empanadas
For Filling, You'll Need: pinch cinnamon, pinch cumin, pinch freshly grated nutmeg, pinch kosher salt, pinch freshly grated black pepper, 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 LB ground chicken (or ground turkey) completely thawed in refrigerator, 2 stalks of celery (finely diced), 1 small shallot or 2 Tbsp white onion (finely diced), 1/4 cup unsalted cashews (chopped), 1/4 cup golden raisins (chopped), 1/4 cup dried apricots (chopped)
For Crust, You'll Need: 15 oz package of 2 pie crusts (not frozen, but in refrigerator)*, extra flour for work surface, 1 large egg, 1 Tbsp water, 3 to 3 1/2 " biscuit cutter, Rolling pin, pastry brush
For Sauce, You'll Need: 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour, 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock, pinch kosher salt, pinch black pepper, 2 sprigs fresh thyme (pull thyme leaves off sprigs and discard stems) 
How to Prepare the Meat: In a small bowl, mix up your spices with your fingers or a spoon (cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, salt and pepper). Using a meat tenderizer or a fork, break up your meat in a preparation bowl or plate. Sprinkle the spices over the meat. In a large saute pan, over medium heat, add your butter and olive oil until they are heated up. Add the meat and brown it slightly, stirring occasionally. Add the celery, shallot and onion and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the cashews, raisins and apricots. Saute for 2-3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer meat mixture to a bowl. Place in freezer or an ice bath for 5 minutes to stop the cooking and to cool; then remove from freezer and set aside.

How to Prepare the Crust: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Sprinkle flour on work surface. Place large pie dough round over the flour. Turn it over, so both sides are lightly floured. Gently repair any broken sections with your fingers if you have cracks. Using a 3" or 3.5" biscuit round, cut out little circles in your dough and set the circles to the side (do not stack them). Re-roll the extra pieces of pie dough and cut out more circles until you use up all the dough.

How to Prepare the Sauce: In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, add the butter. Whisk in the flour, until little bubbles start to form (3-4 minutes). Pour in the stock and thyme and whisk for 5-7 minutes. Taste. If desired, add salt and pepper. Transfer to a heat safe, small glass bowl. Place on table or in middle of empanada platter. 

To Assemble Empanadas: Using a regular silver teaspoon from your silverware drawer, spoon a small spoonful into the middle of a dough round. Gently fold the dough round in half, covering the meat filling. Using a small fork, crimp the now half rounded edge of the dough. Place on the parchment lined baking sheet. Pastries should be about an inch and a half apart. Once all pastries are on the baking sheets, whisk the egg and water in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush on a little bit of egg wash onto each pastry. Place in oven for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and using a spatula, transfer pastries to cooling racks. Let cool for a few minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Place your sauce in a small bowl and place in the center of the serving platter.

* If your dough is frozen, thaw it overnight in refrigerator. Leave it in the refrigerator until 10-15 minutes before you are going to use it. I recommend using 1 pie crust at a time, so it doesn't get too warm. Leave one crust in the refrigerator while you work with the other one. Remove it 10-15 minutes before you need it as well.

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