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Chicken Empanadas

January 4, 2009
chicken empanadas

chicken empanadas

I’ve been a little lax in posting over the holidays, but I’ve been cooking and now I’ve got some recipes in the queue.  One of the best recipes I made was these chicken and chorizo empanadas from Smitten Kitchen, which I made for a New Year’s potluck.  The aren’t quick to make, but if you have some time, they’re perfect for a potluck since you can make them ahead and they’re as good at room temperature as they are warm or hot.  This makes about 20-24 appetizer sized empanadas, or fewer large-sized ones.



4 1/2 c all-purpose flour

3 t salt

2 sticks (1 cup) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes

2 eggs

2/3 c ice water

2 T white vinegar (I used cider vinegar and had no problems)


4 whole chicken legs (thigh and drumstick)

salt and pepper for seasoning

2 T extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into thin strips

2 large garlic cloves,  minced

1 bay leaf, broken in half

1/2 c finely diced Spanish chorizo (this is the dry chorizo, not fresh Mexican chorizo)

3/4 t Spanish smoked paprika (sweet or hot)

1/4 heaping cup chopped green olives

1/4 heaping cup olden raisins

1/2 c dry white wine

1/2 c chicken broth

Egg Wash: 1 lightly beaten egg with 1 T water


To make dough: Sift flour and salt into a large bowl and cut in cold butter with a pastry blender or hands until it looks like course meal with some pea-sized lumps.  Beat together egg, water and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork.  Add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork until just incorporated- mixture looks shaggy.  Make sure that all the flour at the bottom of the bowl is incorporated.  If not, add more ice water by tablespoons until just moist enough.  Turn out mixture onto floured board and knead a few times until it just comes together.  Shape into 2 rectangles and cover in plastic wrap, then refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to 6 hours.

To make the filling: Rinse and pat dry chicken and season with salt and pepper on both sides.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until hot.  Add chicken, skin side down, and brown for 3-4 minutes on each side, just turning once.  Remove chicken and put on plate.  Add onion, garlic and broken bay leaves to pan and saute until softened, 4-5 minutes.

Add chorizo and paprkia to pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add olives, raisins, wine and broth and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from bottom of the pan.  Return chicken and any juices that collected to the pan and cook over medium-low heat, covered, for 25 minutes, turning chicken over once.  Turn off heat.

Transfer chicken to a clean plate or cutting board.  The sauce in the pan should be the consistency of heavy cream- if it’s not that thick, boil for a few minutes to reduce to desired consistency.  When chicken is cool enough handle, remove skin and bones from chicken and coarsely chop chicken into small pieces.  Stir chicken into sauce and discard bay leaves.  Season with salt and pepper if necessary.  Cool filling for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.

To make empanadas: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and put oven racks on upper and lower thirds of the oven.

Roll out one dough rectangle (keep the other one in the fridge) on a lightly flour ed surface to a 1/4″ thickness.  Using a 3″ round biscuit cutter, cut out circles.  Use the rolling pin to flatten the circles more until they are the thickness of a pie crust.  Spoon about 1-2 T of filling onto the circles and fold in half to make a little pocket.  Seal edges closed with your fingers and crimp edges with your fingers or a fork, as you would the edge of a pie crust.  Repeat with dough until filling is used up, placing empanadas on 2 greased or parchment-lined baking sheets.  Lightly brush each empanada with the egg wash and bake for about 25 minutes, switching backing sheets midway through baking.

Serve hot or a room temperature.

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