Chicken Empanadas – Mexican Appetizer

The most delicious emapanadas, honestly this tasted better than restaurant ones…

Whenever I dine at Mexican or Latin American restaurants I make sure to have emapanadas, I like them a lot. Recently, I have had them at the International food festival. I knew, it wasn’t that easy to make them and making empanadas calls for some patience and time. The thought of making them had hit me a long time ago and I kept delaying it. For the last couple of weeks, I had been facing unbelievable lack of interest in cooking, though I cooked it was just for the sake of filling my stomach. Whenever I cook without passion, things go terribly wrong. I felt awful and couldn’t find out the reason behind it.

Yesterday, I decided to break the block I had been facing and to energetically get back to cooking. Yes, I wanted something interesting and different to cook. First thing that came to my mind was empanadas, Latin American delicacy and I went with the first fresh thought. I didn’t have any idea how it was made or what ingredients it called for. I googled for some recipes and came across many. After a few minutes of research, I picked two recipes and combined them: one for making the dough and another for making the filling.

Making the filling and the dough was quite easy. After that the fun part began: rolling the dough, stuffing it and frying it. Making empanadas resembles to making samosa, since I have made samosas many times this didn’t feel like a new thing to me. You need to dedicate some time and definitely need some patience to make this. When you taste the fried empanadas, you would thank yourself for all the effort you have put into making it. It’s worth all the time and the effort. These empanadas tasted delicious and the filling was great too.

Chicken Empanadas:

For making dough:

Adopted from Emeril Lagasse

Ingredients:

  • Masa Harina or corn flour- 1 cup
  • All purpose flour or gluten free flour- 1/2 cup
  • Yellow corn meal- 1/2 cup
  • Baking powder- 1/2 tsp
  • Salt- 1 tsp
  • Ground pepper- 1/2 tsp
  • Vegetable shortening- 1 tbsp
  • Warm water- 1 cup

Instruction

  • In a large bowl, combine masa harina, flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt and ground pepper thoroughly.
  • Cream in the vegetable shortening.
  • Add warm water little by little and combining with the flour.
  • Knead the dough well and make them into a log shape.
  • Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

For making chicken filling:

Adopted from About.com by Marian Blazes

Ingredients:

  • Chicken, boneless breasts- 2 breasts
  • Chicken stock or bouillon cube- 1 1/2 cups stock or 1/2 cube dissolved in 1 1/2 cups water
  • Bay leaves- 2
  • Olive oil- 2 tbsp
  • Onion, chopped small- 2
  • Paprika- 2 tsp
  • Cumin powder- 1 tsp
  • Chili powder- 3/4 tsp
  • Ground pepper- if needed, 1/4 tsp
  • Salt- very little
  • Hard boiled eggs- 2
  • Green olives, pickled or fresh, chopped- 1/2 cup

Instruction

  • Pour the chicken stock or bouillon cube combined with water and bay leaves into a large pan.
  • Place the chicken breasts into the stock.
  • Place the pan over medium heat, let the stock come to a boil.
  • Cover the pan with its lid and let cook at low flame for 20-25 minutes, till the chicken has cooked well.
  • After the chicken has cooked, let it cool down.
  • Save the chicken stock, you could use it to make soup.
  • Remove the chicken from the stock, place it on a cutting board and shred it into small pieces using a knife.
  • Place a saucepan over medium heat, add oil.
  • Add onions and little salt, cook till onions turn tender.
  • If you are using pickled olives, don’t add too much salt as the olives have enough salt in it.
  • Add paprika, cumin powder and chili powder to the onions.
  • Cook for some more time till onions start to turn golden in color, remove from the flame.
  • Boil 2 eggs in water, remove the shells and chop it into small pieces.
  • You could use fresh or pickled olives. If using pickled olives, rinse the olives under water to remove excess salt from it.
  • Chop olives into small pieces.
  • Add shredded chicken, chopped eggs and chopped olives into the onion mixture.
  • Taste the mixture, if you need more spice add ground pepper to it.
  • Combine everything well, let cool down.

 

How to stuff the empanadas:

Ingredients:

  • Oil- to grease the plastic cover
  • Vegetable oil- enough to deep fry

Instruction

  • After 20 minutes, take the dough from the refrigerator.
  • Make small balls out of it and keep it on a plate.
  • I tried rolling the dough on a floured board, the dough cracked a lot, hence I tried the following method which worked well for me.
  • Cut a ziploc bag into two halves or use any thick plastic bags.
  • Grease the cut halves with little oil. Make sure to grease before you roll each dough.
  • Place the dough ball on one of the halves.
  • Cover the dough ball with the other ziploc half.
  • Using a wooden pin, roll it gently to a round shape over the plastic cover.
  • Don’t roll the dough too thin.
  • Using a cookie cutter or any small round lid with sharp edges (I used the lid of 8 oz cream cheese box), make a round shape out of the rolled dough.
  • Place 1 tbsp of filling on the dough. Don’t overstuff as the dough will break apart.
  • Close the dough to the shape of a half moon.
  • Seal the edges of the roll, the dough is very soft so just press the dough down at the edge, else use little water.
  • Using a fork, make marks at the edge of the roll: gently press the fork over the edge.
  • Place a frying pan over medium heat, add enough oil to deep fry. Let the oil get hot.
  • Place the stuffed empanadas into the hot oil and fry till both sides turn golden in color.
  • Transfer the fried empanadas over a paper towel.
  • Serve hot with your favorite sauce or ketchup.
  • You wouldn’t be using all the filling, you can serve the filling along with fried empanadas. The filling itself tastes good.

 

Chicken Empanadas - Mexican Appetizer
 
For making dough: Adopted from Emeril Lagasse
Ingredients
  • Masa Harina or corn flour- 1 cup
  • All purpose flour or gluten free flour- ½ cup
  • Yellow corn meal- ½ cup
  • Baking powder- ½ tsp
  • Salt- 1 tsp
  • Ground pepper- ½ tsp
  • Vegetable shortening- 1 tbsp
  • Warm water- 1 cup
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine masa harina, flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt and ground pepper thoroughly.
  2. Cream in the vegetable shortening.
  3. Add warm water little by little and combining with the flour.
  4. Knead the dough well and make them into a log shape.
  5. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

 
Chicken Empanadas - Mexican Appetizer
 
For making chicken filling: Adopted from About.com by Marian Blazes
Ingredients
  • Chicken, boneless breasts- 2 breasts
  • Chicken stock or bouillon cube- 1½ cups stock or ½ cube dissolved in 1½ cups water
  • Bay leaves- 2
  • Olive oil- 2 tbsp
  • Onion, chopped small- 2
  • Paprika- 2 tsp
  • Cumin powder- 1 tsp
  • Chili powder- ¾ tsp
  • Ground pepper- if needed, ¼ tsp
  • Salt- very little
  • Hard boiled eggs- 2
  • Green olives, pickled or fresh, chopped- ½ cup
Instructions
  1. Pour the chicken stock or bouillon cube combined with water and bay leaves into a large pan.
  2. Place the chicken breasts into the stock.
  3. Place the pan over medium heat, let the stock come to a boil.
  4. Cover the pan with its lid and let cook at low flame for 20-25 minutes, till the chicken has cooked well.
  5. After the chicken has cooked, let it cool down.
  6. Save the chicken stock, you could use it to make soup.
  7. Remove the chicken from the stock, place it on a cutting board and shred it into small pieces using a knife.
  8. Place a saucepan over medium heat, add oil.
  9. Add onions and little salt, cook till onions turn tender.
  10. If you are using pickled olives, don't add too much salt as the olives have enough salt in it.
  11. Add paprika, cumin powder and chili powder to the onions.
  12. Cook for some more time till onions start to turn golden in color, remove from the flame.
  13. Boil 2 eggs in water, remove the shells and chop it into small pieces.
  14. You could use fresh or pickled olives. If using pickled olives, rinse the olives under water to remove excess salt from it.
  15. Chop olives into small pieces.
  16. Add shredded chicken, chopped eggs and chopped olives into the onion mixture.
  17. Taste the mixture, if you need more spice add ground pepper to it.
  18. Combine everything well, let cool down.

 
Chicken Empanadas - Mexican Appetizer
 
How to stuff the empanadas:
Ingredients
  • Oil- to grease the plastic cover
  • Vegetable oil- enough to deep fry
Instructions
  1. After 20 minutes, take the dough from the refrigerator.
  2. Make small balls out of it and keep it on a plate.
  3. I tried rolling the dough on a floured board, the dough cracked a lot, hence I tried the following method which worked well for me.
  4. Cut a ziploc bag into two halves or use any thick plastic bags.
  5. Grease the cut halves with little oil. Make sure to grease before you roll each dough.
  6. Place the dough ball on one of the halves.
  7. Cover the dough ball with the other ziploc half.
  8. Using a wooden pin, roll it gently to a round shape over the plastic cover.
  9. Don't roll the dough too thin.
  10. Using a cookie cutter or any small round lid with sharp edges (I used the lid of 8 oz cream cheese box), make a round shape out of the rolled dough.
  11. Place 1 tbsp of filling on the dough. Don't overstuff as the dough will break apart.
  12. Close the dough to the shape of a half moon.
  13. Seal the edges of the roll, the dough is very soft so just press the dough down at the edge, else use little water.
  14. Using a fork, make marks at the edge of the roll: gently press the fork over the edge.
  15. Place a frying pan over medium heat, add enough oil to deep fry. Let the oil get hot.
  16. Place the stuffed empanadas into the hot oil and fry till both sides turn golden in color.
  17. Transfer the fried empanadas over a paper towel.
  18. Serve hot with your favorite sauce or ketchup.
  19. You wouldn't be using all the filling, you can serve the filling along with fried empanadas. The filling itself tastes good.

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