I know all the empanada purists out there are going to tell me that you can’t use pie dough to make authentic empanadas. And they’ll be right. An empanada dough should be flaky, crispy and light; you don’t want it competing with the flavorful fillings. But I really, really wanted to make empanadas…and so I made the decision to move forward in the hopes that they still might turn out okay.
I have to give credit to the empanada filling for these turning out as well as they did (although I really enjoyed the pie crust, too, and the texture seemed right to me). I took so many “tastes” that the long-simmered chicken and onions almost didn’t make it inside the dough, but I held out long enough to make at least a couple dozen for game day. Just don’t make these empanadas while you’re hungry, in the same way that you don’t want to grocery shop without having had lunch ;-)
- 3 whole chicken legs, including thighs (2 to 2 1/4 pounds total)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large onions, halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/3 cup finely diced Spanish chorizo
- 1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (not hot)
- 1/2 cup chopped pitted green olives
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- refrigerated pie crust
Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken, turning over once, about 6 minutes total, and transfer to a plate. Sauté onions, garlic, and bay leaf in fat remaining in skillet, stirring frequently, until onions are softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chorizo and paprika and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add olives, raisins, wine, and broth and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits. Return chicken to skillet along with any juices accumulated on plate, then reduce heat to moderately low and simmer chicken, covered, turning over once, until tender, 25 to 30 minutes total.
Transfer chicken to a clean plate. (Sauce in skillet should be the consistency of heavy cream; if it’s not, briskly simmer until reduced). When chicken is cool enough to handle, discard skin and bones and coarsely chop meat. Stir chicken into sauce and discard bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, then cool filling, uncovered, about 30 minutes.
Using 4-inch round cutters (I used mini tart pans with a scalloped edge
), cut out circles and place a tablespoon or two of filling in center. Fold over and seal edges with a fork. Deep-fry empanadas @375 for 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown.
Note: These keep really well up to 24 hours before frying. Just keep them in a single layer on a baking sheet tightly sealed.