chicken-revisited-and-enlightened Recipes

chicken empanada with chorizo and olives

Wow. I just… I mean… wow. These are so good, you’re going to kiss the cook, so be careful if her husband is in the room, okay? I don’t want to be the indirect cause of narrowed eyes or awkward silences. But first, in light of The Great Chicken Cutlet Hate-A-Thon of Aught Seven, I feel it is only right for me to add little more to this picture.

Some of you may know this already, but I suspect newer readers do not; I was dairy-eating vegetarian from the time I was 13 until I was 28 (that’s Alex smirking in the corner, he likes to take credit for breaking me of my bacon-eschewing ways), a whopping half of my life (though, sniffle, not for long). If you click over to the recipe index, you’ll see that in the eight months this Kitchen has been open for business, if you exclude the dessert section, you’ll find a ratio of 92 vegetarian recipes to 11 meat, poultry or seafood-related ones. It’s not hard to make the argument that I’m still just not that into that which I once swore off. To this day, I consider meat a side dish and probably always will, and unless that fleshy dish is going to be transcendent or spectacular, I’ll probably skip it altogether. What this means is, if chicken cutlets have failed me again and again, it’s cool. I don’t need to fix it, I’m not dying to get over it, I’ll probably just move on and try other things. (That said, I want to thank Abbey for her helpful comment; this brining method is truly the only one that’s ever successfully brought cutlets back to life for me, and I need to get back to using it.)

empanada, unbaked

But when I went to move on to other things, I really didn’t get far. I’ve had my eye on this empanada recipe for a while now, equally intrigued by the variety of flavors as well as a certain comment that stated plainly “This is one of the best recipes on this site.” The reviewer wasn’t kidding, and do you know what really, really makes this recipe? The chicken. It’s so tender, flavorful, and lush, I entirely failed at not eating bits with my fingers as I pulled it from the bone. I don’t think chicken has ever had such a carnal effect on me before. Thigh and leg pieces are first browned, and then braised for thirty minutes with the other ingredients, including broth and wine. In the end, you remove both the skins and bones–a boneless, skinless cutlet, so to speak–but you’re left with something that bears no resemblance to the pink, vacuum-sealed pieces on pieces of antiseptic foam lining your grocery store’s refrigerated section. And I vow from this point forward to stop bitching and moaning about the “pressed sawdust” effect and at least try to make my own damned cutlets when chicken pieces are in order.

empanada, baked

I made only a couple changes to the recipe, replacing the oddly-chosen pizza dough crust for a more classic empanada one also the site. I also ended up with enough filling for 18 and not 12 empanadas, forcing me to make a second batch of dough the next day. (I’ll spare you this and scale up the recipe for you.) I also omitted the raisins, as Alex has deep-seated issues with both the combination of sweet flavors with meat, as well as raisins themselves. I think he’s nuts, but having no great desire to eat raisins, olives and chorizo together, I didn’t push the envelope. However, when further researching empanadas later last night, I couldn’t help but notice that a good lot of them involve raisins, pretty much assuring me that the recipe I used was fairly standard, and my reaction to the ingredients was not.

Nevertheless, these empanadas are the best things I’ve made in a while. The crust is flawless, and the dough terrifically easy to work. The filling would be equally tasty over rice or another grain, but tucked inside a pocket, the ultimate finger food. Food like this makes me certain that we and our guests are getting more spoiled by the week, and this, my friends, is a very good thing.

empanada, cross-section

Chicken Empanada with Chorizo and Olives
Adapted from Gourmet, January 2005

Makes 18 empanadas

Dough:*
4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I swapped 1/2 cup with whole wheat flour)
3 teaspoons salt
2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs
2/3 cup ice water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Filling:
3 whole chicken legs, including thighs (2 to 2 1/4 lb total)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
1/3 cup finely diced Spanish chorizo (cured spiced pork sausage; 1 1/2 oz; casings discarded if desired)
1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (not hot)
1/4 cup chopped pitted green olives
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

Egg Wash:
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Make Dough: Sift flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. (Mixture will look shaggy.) Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together. (Deb note: If you use a large-ish bowl, you can do this step in-bowl.) Form dough into two flat rectangles and chill them, each wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour. Dough can be chilled up to 6 hours total.

Make Filling: Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken, turning over once, about 6 minutes total, and transfer to a plate. Sauté onions, garlic, and bay leaves in fat remaining in skillet, stirring frequently, until onions are softened, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add chorizo and paprika and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add olives, wine, and broth and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits. Return chicken to skillet along with any juices accumulated on plate, then reduce heat to moderately low and simmer chicken, covered, turning over once, until tender, 25 to 30 minutes total.

Transfer chicken to a clean plate. (Sauce in skillet should be the consistency of heavy cream; if it’s not, briskly simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.) When chicken is cool enough to handle, discard skin and bones and coarsely chop meat. Stir chicken into sauce and discard bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, then cool filling, uncovered, about 30 minutes.

Form Empanadas: Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Divide first dough and half of second dough into 18 equal pieces and form each into a disk. (The remaining dough can be stored in the freezer for future use.) Keeping remaining pieces covered, roll out 1 piece on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 5-inch round (about 1/8 inch thick).

Spoon about 2 tablespoons filling onto center and fold dough in half, enclosing filling. Press edges together to seal, then crimp decoratively with your fingers or tines of a fork. Transfer empanada to a baking sheet. Make 17 more empanadas in same manner, arranging on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets.

Lightly brush empanadas with some of egg wash and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer empanadas to a rack to cool at least 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

* Not wanting to engage you all in egg-splitting, this empanada dough recipe technically makes enough for 24 pockets. The extra can be stored in the freezer for future use.

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146 comments on chicken empanada with chorizo and olives

  1. This just might be the perfect dish to make for my boyfriend in a surprise, you’re-too-wonderful-for-words-so-i-made-you-dinner dinner – this looks fabulous! I happen to love raisins, but it sounds you were wise to omit them, mentally the flavors aren’t clicking in my mind…

  2. Holy Schitt! I ate those in Chile when I was there last month. They are SO good! I can’t believe you actually know how to make them. You’re amazing. I think I might try it. Or at least shake you down to make them the next time you come over!

  3. I have like nine left, so can definitely bring some over next time. In fact, I was going to bring some if I came over yesterday, but laziness got the better of me. Ooh, maybe I’ll bring them to Cinco De Mayo next weekend. Damn, I’m brilliant.

  4. Gosh these look delish I am going to have to try them even though my husband usually does all the cooking.

    Quick question, have any suggestions for what to use besides chorizo? I don’t eat pork, I do have some all chicken sausage that is spicy, could I use that? Any good suggestions for alternatives would be greatly appreciated.

    Also do any green olives work or are their a specific kind to use?

    Thanks,
    Maytal

  5. Please pass on to Alex that I’m with him 100% percent on the raisin issue. Raisins are dead, mummified grapes. Let them rest in peace people!

  6. I too recently made the switch from veg to not, though in my case I was veg for only 6 years, and I still strongly limit myself to only free range organic fare and no beef. BUT, that said, I feel defunct in the whole “how-to-cook-this-weird-raw-stuff” category of food and eating, and my attempts at chicken have been largely dry and boring.

    My father, having grown up in Argentina, raves on and on about the only truly argentinian food he ate while there (his parents were actually polish): empanadas. I’ve wanted them forever, still can’t have them since there’s usually beef inside pre-prepared ones, but now I can make them with chicken! Perfect! I’m excited and interested. Thanks for the recipe…

  7. Rachael, should you have the burning desire to learn how to cook that weird raw stuff, try Alton Brown’s “I’m just here for the food”. Its a great resource on the science of cooking.

  8. Perfectly folded/pinched edges like this are exactly what intimidates me about cooking. If I attempted that it would look worse than a Hot Pocket. But yours look delish!

  9. mmmm chicken empanadas, I love them. I´ve never made my own empanada dough though because you can buy them at the supermarket here… I sense that´s about to change. Good job on the “repulgue” (the decoration you do to seal the empanada… no clue as to how that´s called in English, or if there´s even a word for it), it looks just like the one my mom makes for beef empanadas.
    And yep, raisins are quite standard, especially for beef empanadas, though I like mine without raisins. Some other typical add-ons: boiled eggs and potatoes.
    Oh and empanadas can be amazing when deep-fried… that is, for days when one is feeling reckless and calories do not enter the picture.

  10. radish — You should! I mean, these are crazy, crazy delicious. I do confess that I’d hoped to have these ready when my parents swung by on Saturday night, but they were (why do I have such a hard time admitting this?) pretty time-consuming and it simply didn’t happen. Making the dough in advance (earlier that day for me) definitely helped, though.

    maytal — Hrmp. I’m hoping someone else will chime it, because I’m not very knowledgable about cured meat. I can tell you this, though: the chorizo was spicy (even the mild stuff) and very dry, hard and, uh, stripped of it’s skin, quite ick-looking. I’d try to get the driest and most firm type of cured sausage you can get in chicken. If that’s not available, maybe even turkey bacon could work, minced, fried and drained very well. As for the green olives, I’m pretty sure I used any old kind. I can’t fuss over pricey olives, especially when they’re being finely chopped and cooked for a prolonged period in a dish. Had I found canned cocktail olives, I’d have used them.

    Maytal — But he loves other dried fruit, apricots, cranberries, even cherries and figs! Oh! And he ate Raisin Bran while we were on vacation. And he eats oatmeal raisin cookies. I’m okay with him having weird food issues, god knows I pretty much have an entire web page devoted to mine, but I would like more consistency. Um, that is all.

    Rachael — I have felt defunct in that category for a long time and the only thing that’s saved me is good recipes. This one made it really easy.

    Linda, The Village Vegetable — I promise to be back to my mostly-vegetable ways v. soon. Um, tonight in fact. We bought artichokes the size of bowling balls! Oh, and also, I’ve seen a lot of empanada recipes that involve ingredients like the aforementioned raisins, potatoes, peppers, black beans and even hard boiled eggs. I’m sure you could make something OUTSTANDING with any of those ingredients cooked down with garlic, onions and spices.

    whitneybee — Maybe with beef instead? I wonder if turkey would work… Potatoes? I do hope you find a way to try it!

    Howard — Dude, I just had to Google kreplach. Worst Jew in the world, still me!

    M — No, no. I did them like that because I hadn’t sealed them well so I twisted and turned them over each other on angles and lo and behold, it came out pretty. A fork is way more traditional, and probably a lot less intimating. Besides, isn’t it what’s inside that counts? :)

    Marce — Hee. I had to look up repulgue last night after you left the Flickr comment. We have no translation. It started Alex and I yammering about how the best words in other languages never translate to English. Like this Yiddish term I read for the first time yesterday in a book review, tsalooches, meaning roughly “Oh yeah? That offended you? Well, I’m going to write a goddamn novel, and you think that was offensive? Just wait.” German has a ton of them, too. I only wish I could remember them.

  11. Uh…

    Just back from the store with ingredients in tow to make this.. minus the chorizo..
    On the list of ingredients it included “organ meat”.. wth is that exactly? Since i cant pinpoint what that flavor component is, can you suggest something similiar?

    I’ll make this tomorrow if you (or anyone) can help me with a suggestion.

  12. Is the raisin thing textural? Because other than in oatmeal raisin cookies, I always pick out whole raisins. But(!) I like the flavor…so I’ll soak ’em and grind them down for my carrot cakes. Maybe you could be sneaky-like and do the same on the next batch of empanadas.

  13. OMG…Traveling made me late with my comment! I love EMPANADAS! And, tell Alex, that raisins are UGH! But, I believe we’ve had this discussion before. The only thing wrong with this recipe is that it’s not available in a hot pocket version (blasphemy, I know). It’s going on the list of things to cook (without the r-word) when I have people over for dinner.

  14. These look like little pillows of chicken- I love pastry and chicken from the mundane chicken pot pie to empanadas such as these. I think I will try these for my tapas night!

  15. These are gorgeous and I have a Malaysian version of this here.

    By the way, I wanted to tell you that I have just received my 50mm lens and am so excited about it. I will have to try taking pictures with them as soon as I can. I took some snap shots just now during dinner, the aperture was real low and I like it.

    Thanks so much for your tips. :)

  16. Thank you for listening – they look as good as they sounded! One for Alex – growing up, my best friend hated raisins. My Mom made a raisin pie that he referred to as a “fly cemetery”.
    You might want to try Mexican chorizo rather than Spanish. Mexican is much softer more like pork sausage – remove the casing and saute until lightly browned.
    Also works well for breakfast tacos – add eggs after it is browned, cook to desired doneness and put in warm flour tortilla and slather with salsa. (for a morning when the memory of Playa de Carmen torments you). For those who like it hot, a Mexican salsa made with chile de Arbol would go great with the empanadas.

  17. These remind me of the tamales I used to get at the farmer’s market in Eugene, Oregon. Crazy delicious indeed! The only difference I recall is that the tamales used prunes rather than rasins.

  18. Huh. Last time I had empanadas, they… didn’t impress. Of course, they were made by my sister for her high-school Spanish class as extra credit, and this isn’t one of the sisters who can cook. I seem to remember using a lot of ketchup on them. Maybe I’ll try them again and see what happens.

  19. When I worked at my last job, every Wednesday the “Empanda Lady” would stop on each floor to sell her freshly made empanadas. Sadly, I haven’t had one as good since. Yours look delicious!

  20. I have some serious dumpling envy right now.

    I was reading “The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Towards Perfection” by Ruhlman, and he was talking about pierogis during one part, and I was salivating. It’s so easy, too! Just potatoes and dough! I might make this a dumpling party evening, and toss in some store bought pot-stickers (I have a whole bag of Ling-Ling ones from Costco). So then 2/3 will be homecooked.

    I might be omitting the raisins, too.

  21. The raisins in the mix reminds me of picadillo, which I love, minus the olives. Those of you who don’t like raisins, have you tried the golden raisins? They are milder and softer than the dark ones and worth a try. Deb, did you pierce the empanada with a steam vent? I love the dough and will try it soon with the whole wheat addition. I imagine it would be lovely with a sauteed cabbage and bacon filling, or feta and spinach, or a sweet fruit pie type filling. the possibilities are endless

  22. These look great! My parents are Chilean and I grew up eating beef empanadas (as a kid who picked raisins out of cookies I must say the raisins and olives make the beef empanada the masterpiece that they are). I’ve never liked the traditional chicken ones but yours sound/look amazing and I look forward to trying out the recipe on the parents.
    The first time I made my mother’s Chilean beef empanadas I made a batch with ground lamb instead of beef and holy hell were they good. Also, empanadas are great with a bit of that hot sauce you get in Chinatown (the one with the green top and giant rooster on the bottle).

  23. My mother has been making empanadas chilenos since I was a leetle kiddy. She’s Colombian, but this is still an old family recipe of hers.

    You CAN’T leave out the rasins! They taste so good!

    I have very fond memories of these, and even 20 years later they’re still one of my favorite treats that my mom makes.

  24. Instead of conventional flour, the vinegar and the rest, you should try using Maseca. That’s a corn flour. That’s what tortillas are made out of. It will give it a more authentic taste and you only need the Maseca and water.

  25. I’ve been googling empanada recipes all week because I want to make them for a Cinco de Mayo dinner party this weekend. Thanks for the post. It definitely helped my research along. I spend way too much time researching recipes and reading food blogs–and then run out of time to actually cook!

  26. Empanadas! I’ve actually always been wondering what empanadas were since chancing upon Brilynn’s site, Jumbo Empanadas. But I was obviously too lazy to find out. And now I finally know! And what’s more exciting is the fact that it looks exactly like a local snack we have in Singapore! Only we have chicken, potato and a myriad of ingredients flavoured with curry poweder. =)

  27. Total aside for a minute. I saw this recipe (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/02/dining/024crex.html) and jumped out of my chair. Black beans! Plantains! Empanadas! Could I BE more in love? Well, apparently. I’ve read it four times and I still don’t get it. Where’s the seasoning? Plantains and one tablespoon of flour and no binder whatsoever will make a dough? Is it me, or does this sound like a disaster in the making? If anyone has two cents to add, or gets to trying it, let me know.

  28. Have to tell you that I was in Argentina recently and became obsessed with making empanadas – in particular veggie ones as I don’t eat beef. Came up with a fabulous combo – bring together frozen sweet corn, fresh garlic, onion and red pepper in a skillet; add a bunch of spices to your taste; and tuck into a pie crust dough (i’ve cheated a time or two with store-bought dough and it was just as good). So glad to hear you’ve had as much success with yours. I actually came to the blog looking for a good empanadas recipe when I first got back but you hadn’t made them yet. :) Yours are definitely prettier than mine though. :)

  29. OMG!!!! I just made them!!!! I just burned the roof of my mouth because I couldn’t help myself and ate while it was still hot.

    ~~~~me, dancing with empanada in hand~~~~

    They didn’t look as pretty as yours, I had a hard time crimping fancy, so I used the fork mashing method. No picture – yours were so incredibly beautiful and perfect I’ll just remember what yours looked like instead of mine! :-)

  30. I did Empanadas for one of my final platters in culinary school that was due on May 5th so a Tapas theme was most fitting. They were yummy, labor intensive and beautiful. Yours are just gwadgeeous!!!

  31. for maytal
    soyrizo
    i dont eat pork either, its a good less oily substitute.
    it would probably fair well in this recipe.
    i have cooked it for meat eaters and they havent been able to tell the difference.
    you can usually find it next to fake meats and what nots at the grocery.
    i dont like fake meats but this one is far better than most

  32. I made these today for our Cinco de Mayo dinner and they were phenomenal!! As a matter of fact, my husband proclaimed that he “couldn’t imagine a better Mexican meal”. I used the recipe for the pastry just as you gave it (although mine didn’t look nearly as pretty as yours), but for the filling, I used my favorite carnitas recipe from Bon Apetit:

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recipe_views/views/108049

    Thanks for another fabulous inspiration!

  33. Thank you so much for this fabuloso recipe! I made them for Cinco de Mayo and they were a huge hit! Next time, however, I plan on sticking strictly to the recipe. I made the dough with 100% whole wheat flower and they turned out tasting a bit too healthy! I also tried a short-cut and used spicy Italian chicken sausage rather than the chicken and the chorizo. I think the chicken sausage was the wrong consistency. I did, however, use an olive bruschetta from Trader Joe’s rather than just olives, and added goat cheese…very tasty! Moral of the story: even though everyone still seemed to love them, I would stick to the recipe on this one!

  34. These were some of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. God, they were amazing. I was at Amy’s FCW brunch on Sunday and only had one. Yum, yum, yum, girl is all I can say. Keep up the good work.

    Christine Sklylark Larkin

  35. I feel the same way about meat (and the mysterious appeal of chicken). 18 years of vegetarianism (with intervals of veganism) ended last September, and I have no desire to cook meat or fish yet. I still hardly ever eat it. But my pet peeve is the amazing quantity of meat restaurants serve in a meal – I only want a taste, really, and always finish the meal feeling vegetable-y deprived. I guess I must consider meat a side dish as well. Or a garnish.

  36. I tried this recipe with triumphant results. Delicious. We have been taking them to work for lunch (cold) all week.
    The only problem for me was converting American cup measurements into British measurements (grams), and I messed up the quantities of flour vs water.

  37. i made them the other day and they were fantastic! (and time consuming). next time i will make the dough and filling over the weekend and then put them together early in the week. my husband loved them too.

    (i also made your arugula ravioli last weekend! my pasta roller was acting up so i could only go to the 6 setting, but they were still very very good – thanks!)

  38. Hi! Just wanted to say that I tried this recipe last night. It tasted superb and I have plenty leftover for a packed lunch and snacks for today.

    Only thing was that my dough was very soft, not difficult to roll but just too soft to crimp the edges like you have. I wonder if the wholewheat flour you added made any difference to the texture of yours? Its also possible that It’s too hot where I live – Bangkok. As I was rolling the little discs the dough was getting softer and softer as the butter melted. Next time i may have to make them in smaller batches, reserving the small balls in the fridge while I’m making the discs.

    Anyway, they tasted great, your recipe was well written.

    Thanks!

  39. Hi Rohini — You know, dough acts much funnier in the heat, so I suspect that’s it. Doughs I love in the wintertime are my nemesis when it is humid out. I think to get the dough to work in the summer, it takes several additional flash-freezings (throwing it back in the freezer to get the chill back on it, so it works as it should. I’m glad you liked the taste, though!

  40. Hi Deb…came across your lovely page in Googles. In Malaysia, we have similar recipe like this but in fried version. It’s called Currypuffs/Karipap. The filling can be of chicken, beef or even canned sardines. I just love to eat them!

  41. I made the empanada dough with a different filling. Out of the dough recipe I only got 14 pieces, I could have gotten 16 but the scraps were too difficult to roll. But I would like to make mention that it’s a wonderful and delicious recipe. Thanks for posting it.

  42. holy, holy crap… so i live in winnipeg, and its now -53 celcius (translation: damn cold) and these have been the perfect excuse to lock myself in the kitchen for a few hours … im not even mad deb, not even mad.
    these are beyond brilliant. if it doesnt warm up soon, i may just have to lock myself in and eat these till the spring thaw arrives.

  43. hey deb! these look delicious and i’d love to make them ahead for my husband’s bday party- do you think they will freeze well? and if so, do you think its best to freeze before or after baking? thanks so much!

  44. hey! i doubled the recipe and made them ahead, frozen before baking, for my hubby’s bday and they were SO delicious! thanks :)

  45. Hi Colleen — The dough recipe makes 24 empanadas, but the filling will only fill 18. To scale the dough down to 18, we’d have to use 3/4, hence, egg splitting. Hope that clears it up. You should have only a little extra dough, which can be reused if stored in the fridge.

  46. This was quite time-consuming but the product was well worth it!! Highly recommended. I used two legs and a breast, which worked quite well. Larissa, I’m skittish about doughs also, but this one was pretty easy and came out flaky and wonderful. I’d love to learn how to crimp like you do, deb. Any chance of a picture-tutorial?

  47. This made me laugh out loud! I used to *be* Alex when it came to raisins (or other fruits) cooking in with my meats. Put them on the side and I’ll eat them at same time but leave them out of my meat dish, please. I tried to like it … made exotic middle eastern stews with apricots and other fruits, etc. No go. Then I decided to try an easy Turkey Picadillo recipe, which looked decent but for those raisins. Oh, I knew I would like the olives in it. The capers…nehh, not sure … but I made up my mind to make the recipe as written. OK, so much for strength of will. Bell peppers make my system complain loudly. Raisins in, capers in — bells out. Life is full of compromise.

    To my surprise, I loved the picadillo! And it was definitely a surprise. When cooked, at least in this recipe, the raisins were only very mildly sweet, providing a pleasing punctuation of the savory flavors. Flush with discovery, I sent the recipe to my sis, who also won’t eat bell peppers or cooked raisins. Genetic? ;-) Her family loved it, too. We had a winner. As is the nature of such dishes, the flavor improves with an overnight in the fridge, but here, it gets well dented before making it to the fridge.

    I am definitely going to try these empanadas. They sound fabulous and certainly look fabulous in the photos. I could just sit and look at such yummy empanadas if on my table. Yeah. I could probably last at least 10 seconds before popping one into my mouth. How do you manage to hold off eating for photography?

    I am thinking the flavor of these will likely surpass my turkey picadillo, ground turkey not exactly known for its wow. The sound of the white wine in this is making my mouth water. Must first find some quality chorizo, then my challenge will be the dough. Is there a name for fear of pastrymaking? Have never attempted pastries, filled as I am with the certainty they will be leaden or taste like toasted cardboard after I’ve covered myself and the kitchen with flour and sticky stuff. Amendment: I do now attempt biscuits. I am on what may be lifetime search for the perfect fat fluffy Southern biscuit like Gran used to make. Perhaps it exists only in loving memory. Dorie Greenspan’s tasty slam-dunk recipe is holding the fort while I keep searching. (Is there a fluffy biscuit recipe in your blog? I must look. Perfection awaits. Biscuit-making explorations take fortitude of mind and stomach, given how some recipes turn out, at best, the perfect hockey puck with which you could take aim and kill nearly anything. Or does that happen only in my kitchen?)

    Thanks, Deb … for luring me onward. I have no doubt I can follow in your footsteps with this yummy-looking filling. If, however, I manage to turn out an edible empanada pastry at your beckoning, my hips will not be thanking you. I may not yet make empanadas myself, but I know I like to eat them.

  48. I was just reading your brownie roll-out cookie post and saw this link from a year ago today and saw the word “empanada”. Yeah, that’s all it takes for me… I LOVE empanadas and this recipe looks very good. I like the fact that it has chicken AND chorizo and the addition of the green olives is a very cool idea. I like food that smacks you in the face when you take a bite and this has that written all over it. I will probably be making these very soon.

  49. When I took a first look at the photos, I was reminded so much of ‘gok jai’, a deep-fried sweet ‘dumpling’ eaten during Chinese New Year’s. Now I’m craving some.

    And about chicken. I don’t understand the North American obsession with chicken breasts either. I’ll eat it occasionally, often because my mom steams whole chicken, but I would never pay for a pack of chicken breasts. IMO the skin is the essence of the chicken. Mmhmm skin. And have you ever eaten BBQ duck? Mmhmmmmmmm.

  50. I just returned from my first trip to Paris and was googling “french macroons” when I accidently stumbled upon this gem of a website.

    I have been reading the site starting from the beginning and I think I gain a pound or two of weight with each post!

    Yesterday I made these wonderful empanadas. AMAZING! Two years ago we were in Argentina and my husband fell in love with empanadas. When I saw the picture and recipe I new I had to try these. They were a huge hit with all three of my kids (3, 6,9) and my husband. I used Mexican chorizo and was careful about not breaking it up too much. Other than that I followed the recipe exactly. For the leftovers, I scrambled up a few eggs with the left over chorizo and made breakfast pockets. I can see that next school year these will be a big hit as they are easy lunch/breakfast food!

    Ok, for today, all three kids had a playdate over so I made the mac and cheese! Yummy! Served with fresh strawberries, blueberries and green salad. Big hit with the crew I had here.

    Did I mention I also made the rice pudding last night from your site??? I am a culinary genius in the eyes of the family!

    What is for tomorrow you ask? I am making the pasta(homemade) with the baked tomato sauce! I don’t have a past machine but I will muddle through somehow.

    Have i made my french macaroons yet? NO! Although I did find a great recipe to try. Maybe next week!

    Thanks again for the lovely sight.

    Ronda

  51. This all sounds pretty good, i am trying these tomorrow for my daughters 10th birthday. Hope the kids like them. i am using just chicken with minimal amounts of spice.

  52. My son is 19 and has been a vegeterian (no eggs anymore, and no fish) for nearly two years. I am always trying to find good healthy meals for him. I have supported him from day one, even cooking my steaks when he is not at home, if possible. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Your site here is great, entertaining and I will try some of this stuff (meatless stuff probably) as soon as I can.

    Some of the vegeterian recipes have so many ingredients!

    Thanks again!
    Susie

  53. De-lurking to let you know that these turned out amazing! Though mine don’t look as pretty as Deb’s, because I couldn’t quite emulate her edge-crimping, and I didn’t have any wheat flour lying around…

    I also used spicy italian sausage instead of chorizo; more chicken broth instead of white wine; and I have no idea what kind of paprika or bay leaves I tossed into the pot- but nevertheless, the whole thing turned out amazing, so apparently this recipe is nearly un-corruptible, despite my best attempts.

  54. I have to say…I made these empanadas and I loved the filling, but I hated the crust. I’m used to a Rick Bayless empanada dough recipe that I have. It uses some masa and mostly flour, but is really easy to work with. I found this crust to be too hard once cooked. I didn’t over-handle the dough and let it rest properly after mixing. Anyway…I just thought I’d add my two cents. The filling was great though!

  55. Unlike Laura, above, our favourite part of this recipe was the pastry (It could be that the French butter that makes the difference – French butter makes everything better – or it could be the extra oz I put in due to conversion guess-timates ;) ).

    The filling was very tasty, but the real revelation came today at lunch – just like Egg and Bacon Pie, these were INCREDIBLE straight from the fridge. My husband has already demanded there be more cold empanadas on hand for his lunch at work next week.

    Thanks for the recipe Deb!

  56. I am so happy to find this recipe on your website. i made it last fourth of july and chose the same dough recipe. i baked the empanadas a little less than what was called for, which allowed the dough to keep its moist but flaky and buttery texture so it could sort of melt in your mouth rather than have any sort of overdone crunch. i would recommend using the raisins, though, as they add a really nice burst of sweet flavor that pairs well with the savory richness of the sauce and the butteriness of the dough.

  57. I made these today and they’re hideous but delicious. A lot of my empanadas popped open in the oven; I suck at pastry. Also I didn’t have dark meat on hand so I had to use chicken breast but they’re tasty regardless. I’m trying not to eat any more of them but it’s hard…

  58. made these last night….thank you for another fantastic recipe! In an effort to shortcut the dough, we used pillsbury crescent rolls….still tasted great!!

  59. made this for dinner w/ the black bean confetti salad – thanks so much! I was terrified of the dough; it didn’t look right and I always screw up chicken pot pie but it ended up being perfect. my 3yo girl, She Who Grazes and Would Live on Crackers All Her Days, ate TWO! 7yo boy, He of the Bland Palate, is also a fan. we’re a well-fed fambly tonight. yay!

  60. We made these last week – I made the filling the night before and it worked just fine. Also, instead of using chorizo, I substituted a half a cup or so of drained diced tomatoes. It was deeeelicious. I also used a variety of sliced Greek olives.

    Additionally, we made a Chimichurri sauce, which proved to be the perfect accoutrement.

  61. UPDATE. April 5, that lovely night, we froze half the empanadas. [Yes, I’m totally romanticizing food. This is the sort of thing I do.] The other night we thawed them in the microwave then put them in a 350-degree oven for roughly 10 minutes. Deb, I’m telling you, they were AWESOME. Not just acceptable, but AWESOME.

    I had to share.

  62. Hi Deb, what is the reason for the 6-hr limit on refrigerating the dough? I made dough last night for tonight’s empanadas, and looking over the recipe just now I see that I missed that specification. Do you think I should make a new batch of dough or go with the one I have?
    Thank you!

  63. Huh — I am stumped too! I don’t think there should be one. It might get a little hard to work with after 6 hours, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be softened up with some rolling around.

  64. Well I went with last night’s dough and the empanadas turned out perfectly! I do wish I could have crimped the edges as prettily as you did, but the taste is wonderful. I used fresh Mexican chorizo instead of Spanish and that worked out fine. Thanks for the recipe.

  65. Made these a few days ago and they were great. Someone may have already pointed this out already, but the dough is super-easy to make in the food processor–I highly recommend.

    Liz C., thanks for reminding me about chimichurri; it’s just the right sauce for these empanadas.

    I’ve tried a number of chimi recipes but like this the best–quick and easy with no special ingredients:

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chimichurri-231384

    Thanks Deb, and empanadas are yet another bun in the oven…

  66. For anyone who’s afraid of the mystery meat possibility in chorizo, you can buy chorizo seasoning (at least Mexican chorizo seasoning, and at least in Tucson, AZ!) in the Mexican food section of many grocery stores and either add it to some ground meat/TVP of your choice or probably just add some to the dish. Don’t be too afraid of it – it’s just a sausage! Also, Mexican chorizo worked fine in this dish, although I’m not sure how different in flavor the two are.

    These were great! I didn’t have enough onions on hand, and I was pretty picky about removing all of the skin/fat/gristle etc from the chicken, so I only had enough filling for 12, but they were delicious. They also heat up great in a toaster oven.

    The dough really held up to the filling – even on the few that leaked during cooking, the dough was sturdy enough to keep the pies hand-friendly.

    Thanks, Deb!

  67. I made these last nite. It took me 4 hours! I didn’t mind because I love to get lost in my own world when I cook. My boyfriend hates dark meat bc of the gristle so it took quite a while to remove it all (maybe that’s why it took me 4 hours!). The result: absolutely DELICIOUS empanadas!!!

    The taste of the chorizos and olives was scant, so I think next time I’ll double them.

    There’s a place near Junction Blvd (by Queens Center Mall) called Empanada Cafe. They serve Hawaiian Empanadas made of Ham and Pineapple. The best I’ve ever tried. I think I’m going to experiment, and continue to use your dough.

    THANK YOU FOR THE RECIPE!

  68. about those plantains…the plantain itself is pretty much never seasoned, save a glop of sour cream on top and the lard it’s fried in… =) i bet the combo with the “well seasoned black beans” will be delish. i usually like making black beans with onion and plenty of garlic and various reconstituted dried chiles…perhaps a little cilantro and tomato…i’ll report back if i try it but in the meantime i must heartily endorse that recipe’s apparent potential!

  69. hm. was stoked about the empanadas but i can see why you’re confused…on further inspection that recipe is totally weird… the weird replacement of fat with boiled plantain is suspicious…. bah!! i’m going to improvise my own filling mush of beans and plantains and use a normal dough…i’m picturing it now…gotta go experiment…=)

  70. These were awesome. We actually fried some for the sake of time but the baked were just as good as the fried. Thanks so much Deb.

  71. Deb, I’ve already commented before, but I had to comment again….made these again last night and they are SO good!!!! It was a long process, but so delicious!!!

  72. Oh Yum! I never thought of combining chorizo and chicken. What a great idea, and the olives sound like the perfect compliment. I might cheat and make them with puff pastry until my kids grow up and leave me with some time to cook! Any salsa suggestions?

  73. It certainly was! Made the filling, just omitted the dough and it was great over the rice. Added a simple salad with tomato and avacado. Excellent! I will be making this again for sure.

  74. Deb– I have a question!

    When I made your espinacas con garbanzos, I decided to invest in the smoked paprika rather than swapping it for something similar. Is there actually a negligible difference between smoked paprika and Spanish smoked paprika (if one at all), and would you consider it worth the investment?

    Thanks!

    1. I’ve only used Spanish smoked but use your nose as your guide; if you’re happy with the smokiness of the stuff you’ve got, no need to buy another spice for your shelves.

  75. i made these last night. my dad lived in argentina for quite some time and our whole family loves empanadas. it was my first time making them, and although the braiding of the dough didn’t come out as well as deb’s, these were THE best empanadas we’ve ever had. i made some changes as my dad is watching his blood pressure. instead of chorizo (i cried when i had to leave out them out), i used two lean hot turkey sausages without the casings. i did not add any salt to the filling. i found that the green olives, turkey sausage, and the low-sodium chicken broth added just the perfect amount. instead of the raisins (blech), i added two hardboiled eggs diced. also, instead of the whole legs of chickens, i added skinless boneless chicken thighs. these empanadas were so yummy and a lot healthier than the regular empanadas we’re used to buying. i’m so glad i stumbled on this recipe. thanks, deb! you’re an angel!!

  76. Other posts indicated concern over the flavors blending, I had the same concerns. Added golden raisins, cumin and lightly chopped brined green peppercorns for the bite. I had rave reviews and the peppercorns tied everything together for me.

  77. I have tried so many recipes and this one IS THE BEST so good I cant stop eating them, I used a whole chicken cut up and just used the white meat and used regular chorizo and when the chichen was cooked I added more cooked chorizo and it came out perfect………………..no raisins or olives ……I cant wait to make them again… Thank you for this delicious recipe…

  78. I’ve made these before and, like everyone else here, loved them! Today I modified the recipe slightly, using already-cooked, leftover Thanksgiving turkey (I’m Canadian. We had our big meal this weekend). I followed the steps for all the other filling ingredients, cut back on the simmering time and added the turkey in the last few minutes, just to blend the flavours. Very yummy! I did have to thicken the sauce with a bit of flour, as boiling did not bring it completely to the right consistency. Baked some for our dinner and popped the rest into the freezer unbaked. Hooray for holiday leftovers!

  79. I FINALLY made these the other night after an absolutely awful day (witnessed an armored truck driver shot and killed in a robbery). This recipe had been rolling around in the back of my mind for months and was the definition of comfort food. The next day at work I told everyone to make these as soon as humanly possible. Thanks.

  80. The one thing I miss most about eating meat is chorizo. My boyfriend is from Venezuela and his family (his dad in particular) makes the most unbelievable chorizo empanadas and it is always on the table with cheeses, bread, and crackers on the holidays…:(

    I have a question for anyone who converted from vegetarian back to eating meat….how was the transition? Did you do it slowly or did you just jump back into it, and did you get sick from doing that?

    Wait, why am I asking that?…..O.O

  81. I made these last night and they were fantastic… I have more dough and filling, so I’m planning to make some to go in the freezer. Quick question: egg wash before freezing or right before baking?

  82. I’d like to make these a day or two before a party…would they need to be frozen or could they just be refrigerated for up to 48 hours?

  83. I’ve got these simmering away right now—the house smells amazing. We’re having friends over for dinner–no fear–trying a new recipe—when it’s from Smitten Kitchen! ;) I actually wanted to add in the raisins but forgot- I don’t think we’ll miss them. ;) That dough was so simple- I too swapped in a bit of whole wheat–makes it much more interesting looking anyway–Thanks so much!

  84. So I made these with a leftover whole chicken I had “beer butt” cooked on our bbq…I followed it pretty closely but split the recipe in half, skipped the whole cooking the chicken part and “simmered” it all together for the 30 minutes. It only took me an hour and a half and the “crust” turned out great but the whole thing was a bit blah..this could be due to me not cooking the chicken how she stated…next time I will add a bit more chorizo…

  85. Just made these last night, they were everything as you say! Followed the recipe you provided almost to the pin and the end result was wonderful: beautiful, flakey and soft crust that really was easy to work with, and such a yummy filling (I chose to omit the raisins as well, don’t think anyone missed them). Thanks for the recipe!

  86. I’ve got my sausage and the chicken’s roasting. I was converted awhile ago to using masa harina for the dough; I’d made the potato-choriz0-green olive (gotta be green for this) empanada recipe from the Food Network site (Tyler Florence). Lovely crust and a very workable dough. The sauce he recommends is icky (sour cream and cilantro, just not good) though. I`m looking forward to trying your recipe Deb with the chimichurri recipe above. Can`t wait for these to be done. :o) And Alex, Ditz is right about the raisins. Thanks so much Deb, I sure do appreciate all you`ve brought to my cooking.

  87. I love this recipe. I was just wondering if I could exchange the butter for lard. What do you think? Would I have to reduce or increase the amount of lard? I often make them with lard and I think the flavor is more authentic that way. However, I love that this dough is so easy to work with. Do you think it would be different with lard? Thank you for all your recipes!

  88. Deb — I made these empanadas while cleaning up after Hurricaine Irene, and they were just the thing for comforting our spirits, and those of our neighbors. I did add raisins, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup, and I boosted the wine to a full cup to compensate. With three generous chicken legs, and two vidalias, I had enough filling to do 24 empanadas. I think the olives, chorizo and the smoked paprika really combine to make something fantastic, and while the onions made a lovely foundation, the raisins really were awesome in this. The hubster declared it the best thing ever. The dough was really easy to work, as well. Thanks so much for all you do — your generous spirit shines through in every post!

  89. Hi Deb – followed this recipe to the “T”, except omitted the dough and served over boiled white rice. YUMMY!! The favors were a huge hit.

  90. Hi Deb, I have a few questions for you! First of all.. I made these tonight and although my first batch was a little bit sloppy (setting off the smoke alarm from the oozing) it was so delicious. I got much better with the second batch rolling, and crimping (but those are being frozen). But here is the question. How would you recommend adjusting the baking time/temp for frozen ones? Would you thaw first. Also, do you think this dough could be made in the food processor. I felt like it was such a pain/didn’t come together well by hand… Thanks!

  91. Though it’s been over 5 years since this was originally posted, I made this recipe this weekend–it is excellent! This crust is a great balance between sturdy and flaky and a big improvement over other crust recipes I have tried. For someone above who asked about using a food processor: I used mine in pulling this dough together and had no problems. Definitely a time/effort saver.

  92. Great recipe – just made a big batch for a NYE party. I cut them a little smaller so I would have more, and they are turning out great. I filled mine with ropa vieja (Cuban stewed meat) and a second batch with cheese-corn mixture for my vegetarian friends.
    I also added the 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour, and then substituted 1/4 of the fat with vegetable oil. It turned out fine.
    Thanks!

  93. I actually swapped out the olives for raisins (as you mentioned they were traditional) and thought it was great! I do have a tendency to blur the line of sweet and savoury. I also found a lard pastry was softer and flakier. It may be personal taste too. Otherwise I can totally see how you stopped being a vegetarian for this chicken. My eyes literally bulged out of my head when I was tasting it after simmering. Holy. Smokes.

  94. Made these last night for the holiday (oleeee) and they were delicious. My lazy self ended up using the goya discos, and I omitted the raisins as well, but I kind of love them so next time they’re going in! My filling was a little liquid-y, so I’ll cut down on the liquids next time, but all-in-all they were a hit! Thanks!

  95. Hi Deb. Thanks for posting this recipe. I’m currently planning a freezer friendly stock of meals for when our first baby is born in December. This recipe looks perfect. I see that one other person commented on using a 1/2 cup whole wheat flour. Would it compromise the recipe too much to use a greater ratio of ww flour to ap flour? I’d like to use more ww flour than ap flour if you think it’d still turn out ok. Thank you.

    1. Hi Jamie — If using regular whole wheat flour, I usually start at a one-third swap (if I haven’t tried it with more before), which is almost always fine, and then bump it up to a 50% swap if it seems like it could handle it. If using white whole wheat flour, which is more tender, you can often start at the 50% swap level.

  96. I just made fantastic chicken empanadas using your crust recipe! I never thought I could made such a crust.
    Closing them was a challenge (and some did not), but instead of the fork/beautiful primping you’ve got on yours, I closed them like chinese dumplings and sat them upright. Just as well If not a little bottom heavy!

  97. I made these last night – it was a great success! They turned out really well, and it wasn’t too challenging, thought next time I might save this for a weekend meal instead of trying to pull it off after work. One question: you finished the edges so beautifully. How exactly did you do that? I tried making them look like yours and my technique improved as I went along, but they didn’t look anywhere near as professional. My dough was a bit thin at the edges so that might have been the problem. Thanks for the great recipe (my boyfriend says thanks too!)

  98. Could I use ground chicken instead of the whole legs? As a fellow non-fan of chicken cutlets in any form, I’m slightly uncomfortable cooking raw chicken—much more uncomfortable than I am making pastry crust! I can face my fears if really necessary for the sake of the recipe, though. ;)

    1. I haven’t tried it with ground chicken but I think it should work. I also have a recipe for beef empanadas (though these are still my favorite) that use ground beef so the directions there could probably be applied here a little.

  99. These look great! – we’re planning to freeze half for later. 2 questions: 1) Should we add the egg wash before freezing or is this something we should add later right before we bake the frozen empanadas? 2) How long should I bake the frozen empanadas (or should I defrost them first and bake them according to the recipe above? Thanks!

  100. I know this post is old, but after trying multiple empanada dough recipes I just want to say that this dough is easy to work with and fabulous! I usually do 3 1/2 C white and 1 C of whole wheat, and it still works great. So in case anyone is reading the bowels of the comment section, USE THIS DOUGH RECIPE!

  101. These came out delicious except that the empanadas did not stay sealed and liquid seeped out during the baking process. I sealed them well; wet the edge before pinching together so I don’t know what else to do. Next time, I think I’ll reduce the liquids by half. I don’t know how to seal them the way they are pictured.

  102. Cheers to Alex. I hate raisins in my food too. They just don’t belong in a lot of things. In Mexico I always say no raisins and no cilantro. An obnoxious fresh herb that takes over the whole dish.

  103. For all you raisin haters out there. Traditional empanadas almost always have raisins in them. Take the leap-even if you think you hate them. I’m telling you that the slightly sweet flavor that the raisins impart- offer the perfect balance of flavors in an empanada. I have never made this particular recipe- but made a traditional Argentine-style empanada- ground beef, spices, onions, hard boiled eggs, green olives.Everyone who’s tried them loves them, and although you can taste the slight sweetness- you would never know there were raisins. Please try to keep an open mind….and make this recipe WITH the RAISINS!! Have a splendid day!!

  104. I grew up eating Empanadas in Venezuela. What is normally available here in Texas is nothing like what we ate there. I am looking forward to trying these. Just for the record, Venezuelan Empanadas often contain not only raises, but also olives, capers and slices of boiled egg.

    I have tons of cookbooks, but yours is the one that sits out on the counter and I use it almost daily. Is there a new one out? I thought I read that but then I couldn’t find one……..

  105. I too despise raisins. Any and all, raw or cooked. However the ONE dish I eat them in is a Cuban-style picadillo which is a meat dish that also contains green olives. They balance out the brine-y olives. Trust me. It will be okay.