Chicken and Caramelized Onion Empanadas


Yields 12-16 empanadas | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes

1 lb chicken, cooked and shredded
1 yellow onion, diced
2 tbsp vegetable oil 
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red chili powder
1 cup hot water
1 egg, beaten
1 package of empanada dough, thawed (I used Goya: Tapas para Empanadas)


1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Making the Filling 

2. In a large sauté pan, heat vegetable oil on medium heat. Add the onion and cook down, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds to 1 minute until garlic is fragrant.

3. Stir in shredded chicken and season with paprika, cumin, salt, pepper and red chili. Add water and bring to simmer, then cover and continue to simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover and allow cool a few minutes.

Stuffing Shells

4.  Place one shell in the palm of your hand and scoop about 2 tablespoons of filling into the center of the shell. Fold shell over to close the shell, lining the edges up and squeezing the edges to seal completely. It will now look like a puffy half circle. 

(Note: Careful not to overfill the empanadas. You don't want the dough to break open.)

Sealing the Empanadas

The next step is fun and creative. In Argentina, there is no wrong way to design the edges. Many empanadas are sealed different is distinguish between fillings. I'll be teaching you the rope method. 

5. With the empanada in one hand, take the one side of the half circle and place the edge between your thumb and index finger. While pressing your fingers together, turn the dough 180° toward the outer circle side of your empanada, as if you are flipping a piece of paper onto itself, let your index finger grab the new part of the edge, and press together to seal. Repeat until you've gone all the way around the circle. 

(Note: This step should resemble the motions of winding up a toy with a little key)

6. Continue filling and sealing all the shells. If you're having trouble with the rope method, you can seal using the tines of a fork and pressing little grooves into the circle edge. Just make sure the edges are sealed to ensure the filling remains inside the dough while baking.

7. Brush each empanada with egg wash (beaten egg)  and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. 

 
If you'd like to make-ahead and freeze, freeze them before baking and avoid the egg wash until you're ready to bake. Use a plate or a baking sheet and place them in the freezer. Allow them to harden enough before tossing them in a sealable container for easier storage. They will keep in the freezer about 3 months.

When you're ready to eat, place them directly on a lined baking sheet still frozen, brush with egg wash and cook a few extra minutes more than originally instructed at the same temperature.

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