Homemade empanadas with a spicy chicken filling. This is a great make-ahead recipe, just freeze until you are ready to bake!
1) Mix together flour and salt in a large bowl. Cube butter and use your fingers to cut the butter into the flour until it’s in very small pieces, almost like a sand consistency.
2) Add in egg yolks and warm milk and stir dough until it comes together. Knead the dough a few times with your hands. If the dough is very dry and won’t hold together, add a bit more milk. If the dough is too wet and sticky, add more flour by the tablespoon.
3) Once the dough is a nice even consistency, split it into four even pieces, wrap them in plastic and store them in the fridge for at least an hour.
For the filling:
1) Add whole chicken, bay leaves, and chile peppers to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and simmer for about an hour until chicken is poached.
2) Remove chicken and spoon out chile peppers. Pour off and reserve cooking liquid.
3) Let chicken cool until you can handle it and then shred or chop it into tiny pieces.
4) Using a food processor, add the chile peppers (no stems but seeds are fine) plus 1 cup of cooking liquid and puree until smooth. It’s okay to add a bit more cooking liquid if it is really dry.
5) In your pot, add the olive oil over medium heat along with onions and minced garlic. Cook for about four minutes until they start to soften.
6) Add in tomatoes and chopped chicken. Add in as much of the chile puree as you want – to taste. I used all of it, but you may not want it super-spicy. I recommend starting with half of it and adjusting it to your liking.
7) Let the filling simmer for 10-15 minutes over medium low heat. Season with salt and pepper. Once all the flavors are combined, remove from heat and let cool. Once the filling is room temperature, stir in olives and cheese if you’re using it.
TO Make Empanadas:
1) Work with one piece of dough at a time, roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Then cut it into circles according to what size empanada you want. A small empanada would be a 3 inch round. A larger one would be maybe 6 inches.
2) Once your rounds are cut out, roll each round out a bit more to make it thinner. Then add a big spoonful of filling to the center of the round, leaving about 1/2 inch around the outside.
3) Brush outer edge with egg white and fold over the pocket, using a fork to crimp the edges.
At this point you can either cook the empanadas or freeze them for later.
To bake them, bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes until nicely browned. I recommend baking them on parchment paper.
To freeze, place empanadas on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Then you can transfer them to a bag and store them until needed. You can move them right from the freezer to the oven and just add on 5 minutes to the baking time.