Empanadas de Pollo
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Empanadas are life. Empanadas are love. How do you like my high school level Spanish? Pretty great, right? Well, let’s get started with this week’s challenge: Cuban style! Naturally, I took the opportunity to turn up the heat and make some amazing Huevos Habaneros.
But, of course, the heat in those eggs needed some balance, and chicken empanadas, or empanadas de pollo, fit the bill perfectly. And luckily, they turned out to be pretty easy to make too.
Ponámonos a trabajar, amigos!
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- Flour: Provides structure and texture to the dough.
- Cream Cheese: Adds richness and flavor to the dough.
- Baking Powder: Helps the dough rise and become light and flaky.
- Egg + Water (for brushing): Creates a golden and glossy finish on the baked empanadas.
- Salt: Enhances the overall flavor of the dough.
- Chicken Breasts: The main protein component of the filling.
- Red Onion: Adds sweetness and texture to the filling.
- Garlic: Provides aromatic flavor to the filling.
- White Wine: Enhances the savory notes and adds depth to the filling.
- Lime Juice: Adds tanginess and brightness to the filling.
- Lemon Juice: Adds a citrusy element and balances the flavors in the filling.
- Cumin: Adds warm and earthy flavors to the filling.
- Cilantro: Provides a fresh and herbaceous taste to the filling.
- Chile Peppers (optional): Adds heat and spice to the filling.
- Salt and Pepper: Enhances and balances the overall flavor of the filling.
Let’s Jump Into It!
First, make sure your cream cheese and butter are at room temperature. Cream together the entire block of cream cheese and 1/2 stick of butter in a large bowl using a hand mixer.
Slowly add the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until a crumbly dough forms.
Blend in the remaining 1/2 stick of butter with your hands and knead until a soft dough forms. If the dough is super sticky, add a little extra flour. Then, cover the dough with foil and refrigerate for an hour (or, if you’re like me, just while you prepare the other ingredients and take pictures of them).
While the dough chills, start a sofrito by chopping your onions, garlic, and if you’re feeling daring, some Chile peppers! As you can see, I wasn’t feeling too daring today. Toss the chopped ingredients into a pan with a tablespoon of butter and sauté until the onion is turning translucent. Remove the mixture from the pan and reserve the oil left in the pan.
Now, cube your chicken breast into tiny chunks and add them to the pan. Cook for a few moments to get them browning, then add the cooking wine, spices, and lemon and lime juice.
Bring the mixture to a boil and add the onions back in. Let it simmer for a few minutes and soak in that savory sweet smell.
Reduce the heat and add flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the filling has thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and let the filling cool down to room temperature.
Alright, now it’s time for my favorite part! Rolling out the dough!
Start by separating the large dough ball into 2 halves. Then, take each half and divide it down the middle, so you end up with 4 small balls of dough.
Repeat the division process, and you’ll have 8 small dough balls. This method ensures that your dough will be evenly distributed, and there won’t be any leftover!
Flour your work surface and roll out each dough ball, one at a time.
Take about a tablespoon to a tablespoon and a half of the filling and place it in the center of your flattened dough.
Fold the dough over the filling and press down to secure the edges. I tried using a fork, but using my hands worked much better. Trim the edges with a pizza roller for smooth edges!
Brush the empanadas with an egg wash and then bake them at 375°F for 15-20 minutes or until they turn golden brown. Disfrútalo! Enjoy!
And there you have it, delicious homemade Empanadas de Pollo! Give them a try, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Remember, cooking is all about having fun and trying new things, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different fillings and flavors.
Until next time, hungry people!
Empanadas de Pollo
FOR EMPANADA DOUGH:
- ½ cup flour
- 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 egg + 5 tablespoons water for brushing
- pinch salt
- 4 tablespoons butter
FOR CHICKEN FILLING:
- 8 oz chicken breasts chopped
- 1 tablespoon flour
- ½ cup red onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons white wine
- 4 tablespoons lime juice
- 5 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon cilantro chopped
- 2 chile peppers optional, to taste
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Begin by forming your dough by creaming together the cream cheese and 1/2 stick of butter. Add the flour slowly until a crumbly dough forms, then use the remaining 1/2 stick of butter to create a soft dough. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Chop the onions, garlic, and Chile peppers (if using), and toss them into a pan over medium-high heat with a tablespoon of butter. Sauté until the onion is turning translucent, then remove from the pan.
- In the same pan, add the cubed chicken and cook until lightly browning. Then add the white wine, cumin, cilantro, lemon and lime juices, and bring to a boil.
- Add the onions back into the pan and reduce the heat. Gradually add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time to thicken the mixture. Remove from heat and allow to cool for an hour.
- Take the chilled dough and separate it into eighths. Dust a work surface with flour and use a rolling pin to flatten the balls to about 1/8 inch thick.
- Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filling onto the center of each flattened ball, then fold over the edges and press them together. Use a pizza cutter to trim the edges.
- Brush the empanadas with the egg and water glaze, then place them into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until they turn golden brown.
- Serve warm. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!