recipe

You can find this recipe and many more in our cookbook Gaby's Latin American Kitchen.

safety
  • Uses a knife
  • Uses the stovetop
  • Uses the oven
difficulty
  • Advanced
yield
  • Makes 12 empanadas

A note from Gaby Melian:

I grew up eating savory empanadas—pastries filled with different meats, vegetables, and spices; sometimes fried and sometimes baked— made by my family. Each relative used different flavors and ingredient combinations. But the real differentiator between empanada makers was the way they closed the empanadas. Before baking, you need to crimp the dough to keep the filling contained. In Argentina this crimping is called “repulgue,” which translates to “hem” or “crimp.” My abuela showed me her way of crimping when I was about 8 years old. It wasn’t hard, but I suddenly started doing my own style of repulgue. And not to brag, but I was really good at it! I worked really fast, and the empanadas never burst in the oven. From then on, I was always in charge of crimping. This recipe is my own twist on my mom’s version of empanadas de pollo! I simplify things by using frozen empanada dough and rotisserie chicken.

Prepare Ingredients

2 tablespoons
olive oil
1
onion, peeled and finely chopped
1
green or red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped (1 cup)
½ teaspoon
kosher salt
½ teaspoon
pepper
2 tablespoons
tomato paste
2 cups
shredded rotisserie or leftover chicken (about 10 ounces)
1 cup
chicken broth
½ teaspoon
sweet paprika
½ teaspoon
ground cumin
¼ cup
pitted green olives, rinsed and chopped
1
large egg
12
(4½-inch) store-bought hojaldradas-style empanada dough rounds

Gather Cooking Equipment

  • Medium saucepan with a lid
  • Wooden spoon
  • Oven mitts
  • 3 bowls (1 medium, 2 small)
  • Rimmed baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Fork
  • 1-­tablespoon measuring spoon
  • Dish towel
  • Pastry brush
  • Cooling rack
1
 
2 tablespoons
olive oil
1
onion, peeled and finely chopped
1
green or red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped (1 cup)
½ teaspoon
kosher salt
½ teaspoon
pepper

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat for about 1 minute (the oil should be hot but not smoking). Add the onion, bell pepper, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the onions just start to brown and peppers are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

 
2
 
2 tablespoons
tomato paste

Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the saucepan, until the tomato paste gets darker in color, about 1 minute.

 
3
 
2 cups
shredded rotisserie or leftover chicken (about 10 ounces)
1 cup
chicken broth
½ teaspoon
sweet paprika
½ teaspoon
ground cumin

Add the shredded chicken, chicken broth, paprika, and cumin and gently stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the saucepan with a lid, and cook for 6 minutes.

 
4
 
¼ cup
pitted green olives, rinsed and chopped

Use oven mitts to remove the lid. Gently stir in the olives. Turn off the heat and slide the saucepan to a cool burner. Season with salt to taste. Transfer the chicken mixture to a medium bowl and place it in the refrigerator to cool completely, about 45 minutes.

 
5
 

While the filling is cooling, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

 
6
 
1
large egg
12
4 ½-inch) store-bought hojaldradas-style empanada dough rounds

Fill a small bowl with water. In the second small bowl, lightly beat the egg with a fork. When the filling is cool, fill and shape the empanadas following the photos below.

Filling empanadas pt 1

1. Place 6 empanada dough rounds on a clean counter. Then place the filling and the water next to them.

2. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of each dough round. Dip your finger in the water, and paint the top edge of each dough round with water in a half-circle shape. Dry your finger on a dish towel.

3. Fold each dough round over, pressing gently on the border to seal the edges. They should look like half moons. Remove and discard the plastic dividers, if you have them.

Filling empanadas pt. 2

4. Starting at 1 end, fold the corner of the dough up and over onto the sealed edge. Use your index finger of 1 hand to press down to seal. Hold your index finger in place.

5. With your other hand, stretch and fold the next portion of the edge up and over the tip of your finger. Move your index finger over and press to seal. Repeat along the edge to make a twisted rope shape.

6. Tuck the last corner of the edge underneath the empanada. Place the shaped empanada on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

 
7
 

Use a pastry brush to paint the tops and sides of the empanadas lightly with the beaten egg. Place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake until the empanadas are golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

 
8
 

Use oven mitts to transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack (ask a grown-up for help). Let the empanadas cool for 10 minutes. Serve. (The chicken filling can be frozen for up to 3 months. When you are ready to try your luck with the empanadas, thaw the filling in the refrigerator overnight.)