Chicken Empanada

Savory Pastry Dough with Braised Chicken Filling

Ingredients

Savory Pastry Dough:
2.25 cups all-purpose flour [270 g]
3 tbsp granulated sugar [38 g]
2 tsp kosher salt [12 g]
8 tbsp (1 stick) butter [114 g]
1 large egg [50 g without shell]
1/3 cup ice-cold water [80 mL]
1 tbsp white vinegar [15 mL]

Chicken Filling:
2 lbs skin-on chicken (we prefer thighs) [907 g]
1/2 tsp kosher salt [3 g]
1/2 tsp ground black pepper [1 g]
1 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil [15 mL]
2 large onions (finely minced)
4 cloves garlic (finely minced)
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp smoked paprika [1 g]
1/4 cup minced green olives (pitted) [45 g]
1/2 cup dry white wine [120 mL]
1/2 cup chicken stock [120 mL]

Egg Wash:
1 egg [50 g without shell]
1 tbsp water [15 mL]

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Instructions



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Dough:

In a food processor, add 2.25 cups of all-purpose flour, 3 tbsp granulated sugar, and 2 tsp of kosher salt. Pulse a bit to mix up dry ingredients.

Then add in 1 stick (8 tbsp) of very cold butter that have been cut into 1-inch cubes. Pulse until the butter pieces are the size of peas, and flour looks like coarse meal.

Then add in 1 tbsp of white vinegar, 1 cold egg from the fridge, and one-third cup of ice-cold water. Pulse again until the mixture looks shaggy and is just incorporated.

Working quickly, turn the mixture onto a smooth clean surface, and briefly knead for 5 to 10 seconds, just so that the dough comes together. Form the dough into a flat rectangle shape, wrap it very well in plastic wrap, and rest it in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.

Chicken Filling:

Take 2 lbs. of chicken pieces (we prefer chicken thighs), pat them dry with a paper towel. Season with 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper.

Take a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add in 1 tablespoon of coconut or vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add in chicken pieces skin-side down first, and let it cook for 3 minutes. Turn chicken pieces and continue cooking the other side for another 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken pieces onto a plate to rest.

In the same skillet, with the remaining fat, add in 2 large onions, minced, 4 cloves of garlic, minced, and 3 bay leaves. Sautee this until the onions and garlic are lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Add in 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, and continue sautéing for another 1 minute. Then add in 1/4 cup of minced green olives that have been pitted, 1/2 a cup of dry white wine, and 1/2 a cup of chicken stock, deglazing the pan and scraping up any browned bits and bring to a boil.

Once the mixture is boiling, place the chicken pieces back into the skillet (along with any juices on the plate), reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and simmer the chicken for 15 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over, and continue simmering for another 15 minutes.

Transfer the chicken onto a clean plate. Turn the heat up to medium, and continue to gently simmer the liquid in the skillet for another 10 minutes, till slightly thickened. Then turn off heat, and let this rest.

When the chicken pieces are slightly cooled, carefully remove the skin and debone the pieces (you can discard the skin and bones). Chop the meat into very small pieces, almost minced.

Remove the bay leaves from the thickened sauce in the skillet. Add the minced chicken back into the sauce. Mix it well, and let it rest, uncovered for at least 30 minutes.

Assembling Empanadas:

Place oven racks on the lower and upper thirds of the oven, and preheat your oven to 400 F (205 C). Take 2 large sheet pans and line them with parchment paper.

Take the dough out of the fridge, and by eye, use a bench scraper to divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Taking one piece of dough at a time (keep the remaining pieces covered loosely with plastic wrap), shape the dough into a ball using your two hands, and then place it onto a lightly greased surface. Then with a lightly greased rolling pin, flatten the dough into a slightly elongated circular shape, about 1/8 inches thick, that's about 4 to 5 inches wide and 7 to 8 inches long.

Spoon about 3 tablespoons of filling onto one side of the flattened dough, ensuring that there's at least half an inch from the meat till the edge of the dough. Fold the dough in half to enclose the filling. Then lightly press the edges of the dough together to seal.

Transfer this empanada onto the prepared parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Using the tines of a fork, decoratively crimp the edges of the dough. You can also use the fork to even out any uneven edges, so that the empanada is a smooth half-moon shape.

Lightly greasing the work surface and rolling pin between each empanada, do the same steps with the remaining 11 pieces of dough, to make 11 more empanadas. Arrange the 12 empanadas evenly between the 2 baking sheets, with 6 empanadas on each baking sheet.

Create an egg wash by beating together 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water in a bowl. Lightly brush the smooth middle surfaces of the empanadas with this egg wash. Avoid getting egg wash over the edge and onto the parchment paper.

Bake the empanadas on the lower and upper third racks in your preheated oven at 400 F (205 C), for 25 to 28 minutes, or until they're golden brown. Transfer the empanadas to a cooling rack to cool for a minimum of 5 minutes. Then serve and enjoy!

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