These baked chicken empanada are made of a tasty chicken filling with mildly sweet vegetables and enclosed in a cheddar cheese crust. These are so good and so worth every effort.
These baked chicken empanada are my favorite savory indulgence. I love empanadas because there is a perfect ratio of the crust to filling. Not to mention, I am a lover of anything flaky and buttery (a.k.a. pastries!)
I posted this chicken empanada recipe for the first time two years ago, and now I am posting it again with an even better recipe that I really fell in love with. You guys, my heart delights in its deliciousness.
The crust is now a cheddar cheese pie crust. Still flaky. Still buttery, but now with a hint of cheese in every bite. Can you imagine? I was so excited with just the thought of that.
The filling is made even tastier and a bit sweeter as I would like. Together, they make up one dang good empanada recipe that is so good they will be gone in a flash.
For the crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cheddar cheese grated
3/4 cup unsalted butter cut into little cubes then chilled
5-6 tablespoons ice water
For the Filling
2 pieces chicken breasts boneless, skinless
1 small carrot diced
1 small potato diced
1/4 cup frozen green peas
½ cup raisins
4 cloves garlic minced
1 small onion diced
1 cup cooking liquid from boiling the chicken
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt to taste
1/4 tsp pepper
1 and 1/2 tsp cornstarch
2-4 tbsp cooking oil
For the egg wash
1 large egg beaten
For the crust:
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add the shredded cheese and use your fingers to rub them into the powders until a coarse mixture forms.
Add the cubed butter. Use a pastry blender to cut them into the mixture until the mixture looks like a coarse meal with some bits of butter here and there. Pour 5 tbsp of ice water and use a rubber spatula to stir the mixture until it clings together. If the dough is still very dry and loose, add 1 more tablespoon of water. Using your hands into the bowl, press the dough together and gather it into a ball. The dough should still be a bit crumbly but clings when pressed together. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill in the fridge for 2 hours to overnight.
For the Filling:
Place the chicken breast in a small pot. Cover it with enough water and let it boil. Lower heat and simmer until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and let cool. Reserve the cooking liquid. Shred the chicken into chunks using two forks. Set this aside.
Heat cooking oil in a large skillet. Cook the garlic and onion until soft. Add the carrots and potatoes and toss around for 2-3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and let simmer and cover. Cook until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Add the chicken, peas, and raisins and toss the ingredients around. Add sugar and soy sauce and stir them in. Add salt and pepper. In a small cup, dissolve cornstarch in the remaining 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Pour the mixture into the skillet and stir, until the ingredients are lightly coated with a thick sauce. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Turn off heat. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let cool.
Take the dough out of the fridge and let stand for a few minutes at room temperature. On a floured surface, roll dough to about ¼ inch thick using a rolling pin. Using the rim of a round bowl, a cookie cutter or anything round of about 5 inches in diameter, cut circles from the flattened dough. Gather the scraps and roll it out again. Cut more circles and repeat until all the dough is used up.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the filling into the center of circular dough and fold in half, covering the filling. Pinch the edges and fold it inwards to seal. Refrigerate the empanadas for about 15 minutes. Brush the surface of empanadas with egg wash. Bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes or until empanadas are lightly golden.
Make sure to seal the empanadas well to prevent them from opening during baking.
Freezing the Chicken Empanadas
The empanadas can be frozen for up to two weeks (without brushing with egg wash). Dust with a little flour, seal in a freezer bag or tight container.
To bake, preheat oven to 400F, brush empanadas with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes until light golden brown. You do not need to thaw prior to baking.
Pie crust recipe adapted from The Pie and Pastry Bible from Rose Levy Berenbaum.