Thursday, April 10, 2008

Empanadas de Pollo (Con Huevo)

Empanadas (link to recipe)

Quite some time ago a friend told me about these empanadas she had been craving. They were made by a Chilean woman and were filled with chicken, hard-boiled eggs, raisins, and olives. The combination sounded intriguing and I went about finding and altering empanadas to come close to what my friend used to have. I am not sure if these are The Ones, but they sure are tasty!

These take quite a bit of work so I recommend that you break the job into two days. Make the filling on the first, then make the dough, assemble, and cook the empanadas on the second day. The secret in this empanada is to stew chicken thighs and drumsticks whole and then strip the meat off the bone. The filling is made in one pot (convenience!). I also took pictures of many steps: Click on the links throughout the recipe to see what the steps looked like.

Chicken Empanadas
Makes 12-18


3 chicken quarters, thighs and drumsticks
1 tablespoon of oil
2 large onions, cut in half lengthwise then cut in strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup olives, chopped
1/2 cup water
4 hardboiled eggs
1/4 cup of raisins

4 cups of All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 cup of butter, or two sticks, chopped. (You may substitute margarine, just divide into two portions to ease mixing)
3/4 cup of ice water

Eggwash: Not to be made until empanadas are sealed.
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp water

To make the filling:

Heat tablespoon of oil in large pot. Pat chicken dry, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, then brown in oil about 3 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Add onions and garlic to pot and saute until translucent. Add salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, bay leaves, chopped olives, and water. Stir then bring to a boil. Add chicken back into pot and cover. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Turn chicken over. Simmer another 15 minutes or until tender.

Once tender, transfer chicken onto plate and let cool. Using hands or fork, discard skin and bones. Chop or shred the meat. Add back into pot. Add in chopped egg and raisins. Carefully stir. Discard bay leaves and season filling with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and let filling cool for about 30 minutes (or overnight if you are doing this in parts). The filling is done.


In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Using your hands, begin to mix the butter in. You should have a coarse, crumbly mix with little pea-sized bumps of butter. Add in the water and begin to knead in bowl until it comes together. Turn out onto floured surface and knead for about three minutes. The dough should resemble pie crust dough.

Form dough into log and chill in plastic wrap
, in the fridge, for about an hour. This give the dough time to cool and you time to clean up a little bit.

Assembling the empanadas:

Preheat oven to 400F. Make sure you have a rack set in the middle of the oven.

Lightly grease a baking sheet or cover with parchment.

Bring dough out from refrigerator and unwrap. Cut log into 18 equal pieces (12 if you want them to be a bit larger) and form into balls. After lightly flour your rolling pin, roll each ball into a circle about 1/8 of an inch thick. (It's okay if they're not perfect circles).

Place about two tablespoons of filling into center and fold dough over. Lightly flour a fork and press it down along the edge to seal the empanada.

Repeat above steps until you have finished your all filling and dough. You should have about 18 medium empanadas or 12 large ones. Place finished empanadas in baking pan.

Make an eggwash (one large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water) and lightly brush onto empanadas.

Place empanadas into oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until empanadas are golden. Let cool for five minutes.

Serve alone or with rice and beans.

Variation Station:

If you don't want to use such a complicated cooking method for the chicken, here's a tip: Any cut of chicken will work fine. Use boneless chicken breast instead of thighs and drumsticks; it'll be easier to shred.

If you want even more ease, buy already cooked chicken from your market's deli. Shred it, add it to the filling ingredients (minus the eggs and raisins), and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the eggs and raisins at the last minute. Continue with recipe as written.

You can easily omit the raisins, hard-boiled eggs, or olives.

If you have any filling leftover, add it to a dish of rice and beans. The filling is fully cooked before being added into the empanada!

If you have any dough left over, freeze it for your next empanada adventure. You can also bake or fry rounds of dough without any filling. It makes a tasty bread!

Until next time,
<3 Jess

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