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Chicken Empanadas - Empanadas de Pollo

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Chicken empanadas
James Baigrie/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Nothing beats a flaky, hot, freshly baked empanada, except maybe eating the next one at room temperature, or having a cold one the next day for lunch. Empanadas are delicious no matter how you serve them, and they can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner, appetizer or snack. The key to a great empanada is to have a really delicious dough. Then you can fill it with just about anything you like. This is a traditional chicken filling, with caramelized onions, olives, and pieces of hard boiled egg. For best flavor, make the filling the day before and chill it overnight in the refrigerator.

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Empanada dough (see link to recipe below)
  • 2-3 chicken breasts (or 2-3 cups shredded cooked chicken)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
  • 1.5 tablespoons sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green olives, sliced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water

Preparation:

  1. Prepare empanada dough and chill.

  2. Poach the chicken: Place the chicken breasts in a pot with the bouillon and bay leaf, and cover with water or chicken broth.

  3. Bring to a boil, and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Let cool in the broth.

  4. Shred chicken into small pieces, and moisten with 1 or 2 tablespoons of the broth. Set aside.

  5. Heat oil in a skillet. Add chopped onions, paprika, cumin, chile powder, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until onions are soft and clear, and mixture is golden brown.

  7. Remove from heat and stir in the chicken. For best flavor, refrigerate filling until the next day.

  8. Stir chopped hard boiled egg and olives into filling mixture.

  9. Separate empanada dough into golf ball size pieces, and roll each one into a smooth ball. Let rest 5 minutes.

  10. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  11. On a floured surface, roll each ball of dough into a circle about 6 inches in diameter.

  12. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of filling in the middle of the circle. Brush the edges of the dough along the bottom half of the circle lightly with water.

  13. Fold the top half of the circle of dough over the filling to form a semicircle, and press edges together firmly to seal.

  14. Brush the pressed edge with a little bit of water, and fold the edge over itself, pinching and crimping as you go to make a braid-like effect. (see Tips and Techniques for Beautiful Empanadas). Place empanadas on a baking sheet.

  15. Mix egg yolk with water and brush mixture lightly over entire surface of each empanada.

  16. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and slightly puffed.

  17. Serve warm or at room temperature.

  18. Makes 10 to 12 empanadas.
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