Chicken Empanadas

Empanadas are Spain’s answer to a savory turnover.  They are served in either large baked slabs the cut to feed a crowd or small handheld pockets of stuffed yumminess like the recipe I used for our fiesta.

In Spain people will take their homemade empanada fillings to their local baker and have them stuff and bake the empanadas for them to be picked up later.  Or some will go and buy dough from their favorite bakery or pizza shop and make the empanadas at home.  So in the spirit of outsourcing I opted to pick up some pre-made pizza dough while doing some shopping at Trader Joe’s and saved myself the step of making it from scratch.

3 lbs chicken breast or thigh shredded
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large Spanish onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
1 green pepper sliced
1 red pepper sliced
1 cup of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon sweet or hot paprika
Dash of cumin
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 egg

1 prepared pizza dough

Heat a 1/2 cup of olive oil in a frying pan over med/high heat and add the onions.  Cook until onions begin to soften then add the garlic and let the mixture cook for about 1-2 minutes.  Then add the red and green peppers and cook over medium heat until onions and peppers begin to carmelize, about 15 minutes, do NOT burn the mixture.

Add tomatoes to the onions and peppers and let it cook for 2-3 minutes then add the paprika and cumin, stir to combine.  Then add the chicken and stock and bring the mixture to a boil and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Prepare the dough by rolling it out on a floured surface and cut into 2 1/2″ circles.  Brush the inside of the dough circles with egg wash then place a tablespoon or two of the chicken mixture in the middle of the dough circle then fold in half to make a semi-circle and press edges together to seal close.  Place of a rimmed baking sheet and repeat until all the dough has been used.  Brush the outside of the empanadas with the egg wash and place in the oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Serve.

 Cook’s Notes:

If you don’t have shredded chicken on hand you can quickly grill up boneless skinless chicken (breast and/or thigh) and either shred or chop up into small pieces to use in the empanadas.

The filled unbaked empanadas can be made ahead of time covered and refrigerated then baked before serving.

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