Chicken Pastel Empanada


by: Jeannie Maristela

Depending on what country and what you end up filling these pastry pockets (and even what kind of pastry or sometimes dough you use to make it) with, I guess no one can really call it one specific name. If you live in Jamaica, Britain, Canada, New York City or South Florida where this pastry baby is filled with cooked ground beef (or chicken or seafood), flavored and seasoned with pungent spices and mixed with vegetables or cheese, then there is no doubt you call this a Patty. Now, if you fill this pastry with uncooked beef, diced potatoes, yellow turnips and onions, only season the filling with salt and pepper, and you are well advised and obliged to fold the pastry over the filling and shape it like a “D” then daintily crimp only one side of it, and finally baked it (with strict rules to make the pastry keep its “D” shape when baked and cooled) and you often munch on this while you happily live in the Southwest of England, United Kingdom then by all means call it a Pasty. If for some reason, you tasted some Latin or South European flare in the filling… say you suddenly munched on some bits of chopped salty olives, a few beads of sweet raisins and some tomato or any by-product of tomato as part of the filling along with a flaky pastry that is either fried or baked, then you are absolutely feasting on an Empanada (Ay, yay, yay… Muy Delicioso!!!… translation: SAVE SOME FOR ME… NO I DON’T WANT THAT EMPANADA YOU JUST BITTEN!). Empanada is a stuffed pastry that is baked or fried in almost all Latin American countries, some countries in Southeast Asia like the Philippines (introduced by the Spanish colonialists) and Indonesia (introduced by the Portugese), and South European countries like Spain and Portugal, where the Empanada trace its origins. As some of you might remember, I made this exact “savory stuffed pastry” a week ago with a filling of chicken, béchamel sauce, mixed vegetables and cheese. And I called it Chicken Pastel Empanada. Pastel is a casserole dish (made usually with chicken meat) and baked in a pie crust. Obviously, I did not make my pastry sleep on a pie plate. So to justify my kitchen science project, I just called the darn thing Empanada! :D


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serves: 8

Empanada Pastry:

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter

3/4 cup beer (light beer)

1 egg, beaten (for the pastry)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (for dusting the work surface and rolling out the pastry)

1 egg, beaten (to use as an eggwash to brush the Empanadas with before baking)

Chicken Filling:

1 whole (uncooked) chicken breast, cut into small chunks

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (not table salt)

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

2 cups par-boiled mixed vegetables (small diced carrots, sweet corn kernels, string beans, and broccoli florets separated into small pieces)

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup unsalted butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup evaporated milk

small pinch of nutmeg

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

salt and white pepper according to taste

1 1/4 cup grated gruyere cheese

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Pastel Empanada

Servings Per Recipe: 8

Amount per Serving

Calories: 656

  • Total Fat: 27.8 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 16.3 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 132.6 mg
  • Sodium: 468 mg
  • Total Carbs: 74.7 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 4.1 g
  •     Sugars: 10.4 g
  • Protein: 24.4 g

how is this calculated?

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1.  For the chicken filling, marinate chicken pieces in Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and white pepper. Let it marinate for 15 minutes inside the fridge.

2.  Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Gently sauté the garlic.

3.  Once the garlic is soft, add the chicken into the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.

4.  Add the 2 tablespoons of flour and cook for about a minute just to get rid of the raw flour taste. Add the evaporated milk, Dijon mustard and a small pinch of nutmeg and stir the béchamel sauce.

5.  Mix in the par-boiled vegetables and cook in the sauce until tender and finally add the grated gruyere cheese. Season with salt and white pepper according to taste. Turn off heat and set the pan aside.

6.  For the empanada pastry, pre-heat oven to 375F.

7.  Sift together the 4 cups of flour, sugar and salt.

8.  Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture.

9.  When the butter is well incorporated into the flour (mixture resembles fine bread crumbs), add the beer and pre-beaten egg.

10.  Gather and form the pastry mixture into a ball of dough. This dough does not require resting.

11.  Turn out the dough onto a well floured work surface and divide the dough in halves. Form each halve into a fat cylinder and cut and divide into 4 pieces (8 Empanadas for this recipe).

12.  Roll out and flatten each piece of dough into 1/4 inch thick disk.

13.  Put about a heaping serving spoon of chicken mixture on the half side of the rolled out pastry. Fold the other half over and run your fingers around the folded dough, and over the mound of filling to seal the dough together and get rid of air pockets inside the pastry.

14.  Using a rolling pastry cutter, trim the edges off the Empanada. Then using a fork, crimp the edges to totally seal the pastry pocket.

15.  Place the empanadas onto a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with an eggwash. Using a fork, prick the surface of each piece once to create an air vent.

16.  Bake empanadas in a 375F oven for 40-45 minutes or until these pastries are golden brown.

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