This recipe for chicken empanadas (empanadas de pollo) starts with a delicious dough stuffed with a traditional chicken filling, caramelized onions, olives and pieces of hard-cooked egg. But don't stop there. Be as creative as you like.
Nothing beats a flaky, hot, freshly baked empanada, except maybe eating the next one at room temperature, or having a cold one the next day for lunch.
Empanadas are delicious no matter how you serve them, and they can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner, appetizer or snack.
For best flavor, make the filling the day before and chill it overnight in the refrigerator.
- 1 recipe empanada dough
- 2 to 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 2 to 3 cups shredded cooked chicken)
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 1 bay leaf
- Water or chicken broth
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- Salt and pepper
- 3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
- 1/2 cup green olives, sliced
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon water
- Following the recipe directions, prepare the empanada dough, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
Make the Filling
- Poach the chicken by placing the chicken breasts in a small pot with the bouillon and bay leaf, and cover with water or chicken broth.
- Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Let cool in the broth.
- Shred chicken into small pieces, and moisten with 1 or 2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a skillet. Add chopped onions, paprika, cumin, chili powder, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until onions are soft and clear, and the mixture is golden brown.
- Remove from heat and stir in the chicken. For best flavor, refrigerate filling until the next day.
- Stir chopped hard-cooked egg and olives into the cold filling mixture.
Assemble the Empanadas
- Separate empanada dough into golf ball-size pieces and roll each one into a smooth ball. Let rest 5 minutes.
- On a floured surface, roll each ball of dough into a circle about 6 inches in diameter.
- Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of filling in the middle of the circle. Brush the edges of the dough along the bottom half of the circle lightly with water.
- Fold the top half of the circle of dough over the filling to form a semicircle, and press edges together firmly to seal.
- Brush the pressed edge with a little bit of water and fold the edge over itself, pinching and crimping as you go to make a braid-like effect. (see tips and techniques for beautiful empanadas).
Bake the Empanadas
- Heat oven to 425 F.
- Place empanadas on a baking sheet.
- Mix egg yolk with water and brush mixture lightly over the entire surface of each empanada.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and slightly puffed.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.