An empanada (Spanish) is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries in Spain and Latin America. The name comes from the Spanish verb ‘empanar’, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. Empanadas are made by folding dough over a stuffing, which may consist of meat, cheese, vegetables or other ingredients. (Source: Wiki)
This recipe for chicken empanada draws from the empanadas found throughout Latin America, Spain and Portugal, where the briny bite of olives is coupled with warmer spices, like cumin and smoky paprika. To avoid a dry filling, it’s best to use very finely minced chicken keema. The more smooth the filling is the more will be the empanadas.
It was a lazy afternoon when I first tried this recipe. I was very bored and thought of baking something new. So when I opened my refrigerator I found these basic ingredients I decided to bake some Chicken Empanadas. Later I also have baked different variation of it. That I will share later. I prefer baked empanadas over the fried ones. Sometimes I make fried ones too but for that I mostly use fish filling. Baked empanadas can be cooled, covered in plastic wrap, and frozen for few days. Reheat them in the oven and you are ready to serve with a cup of tea or coffee.
For making the dough:
For making the chicken filling:
- For making the dough: Sieve flour, baking powder and salt and keep them in a mixing bowl.
- Now add the vegetable shortening or lard. Mix with your finger tips until the mixture looks like cornmeal or bread crumb.
- Beat the egg and add it to the flour mix. Mix well with your hand to form dough. Slowly add water in the mix and knead the dough. Transfer to a floured surface; knead for a few seconds. Cover with plastic wrap or keep the dough in a bowl and cover; let stand for 30 minutes in a cool place.
- For chicken filling: Heat butter and oil over medium high heat in a non stick pan or skillet. Cook onion and garlic until onion is softened.
- Add chopped capsicum and tomatoes.
- Add cumin powder, black pepper powder and salt. Cook till the chicken is done and all moisture evaporates. We need a dry filling.
- Remove from heat and add chopped coriander. Let the filling cool completely.
- For making the empanadas: Preheat the oven at 180 C. Lightly grease baking tray and dust some flour.
- Divide the dough into 10-12 equal lemon size balls. Roll them between your palm.
- Roll each ball in a 4” small disk with a rolling pin. Lightly brush the edge of half the circle with a little water or egg mixture.
- Place about 2 heaping teaspoons of the chicken filling in the center. Fold half of the circle over to form a half-moon; press the edges together firmly. (Overfilling will cause dough to tear and not seal.) Gently press end of fork into dough to form ridges, if desired.
- Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
- Place on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with egg white mixture. Pierce tops of empanadas once with a fork.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Remove from oven; let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
~ Unbaked empanadas may be frozen. Store in freezer containers.