Chicken empanadas

Empanadas are little treats, which could be filled with pretty much anything you want or have in the fridge. Empanadas are perfect for a party or picnic and the best part is that they could be prepared ahead of time (up to a month), frozen, and on the day you need them, just be baked or fried.
My empanadas are filled with sweet chicken, mozzarella cheese and cherry tomatoes.
I find this combination perfect, as it is light, but still very rich in taste.
If you have followed most of my posts, you would know that I fry food very rarely, and again preparing these empanadas, I preferred to bake them, instead of fry. As a person who would bake “french fries”, I have to say that most of the time the result from a baked dish is much more successful than from a fried one. But of course, when baking, it is important to know the ingredients you bake and their texture. After all, we all prefer to eat healthy, but the meal needs to be delicious as well.
That is why when baking chicken meat, I make sure to use thigh fillet, I add more butter and spices so, the meat is not dry and tasteless. In today’s recipe I added juicy cherry tomatoes and soft mozzarella cheese, which I believe completed the dish perfectly.
Empanadas (1 of 1)-4
350 grams plain flour
200 ml water
10 grams dry yeast
2 tea spoons salt
60 ml vegetable oil
1 large egg (lightly beaten)
1 large egg yolk
Sift the flour into a big bowl and make a well in the middle.
In a small bowl, mix the water, salt and yeast.
Add the water and yeast to the flour, as you stir constantly with your fingers or a spoon. Add the egg and olive oil and continue to stir.
Flour your counter or large wooden cutting board and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes.
If you have a food processor, you may use it to knead the dough, with the dough attachment.

Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30-60 minutes at room temperature.

Empanadas (5 of 5) Empanadas (1 of 5) Empanadas (1 of 1)-3 Empanadas (2 of 17)
Ingredients for the stuffing – keep in mind that the ingredients in this recipe depend mostly on you – if you want to add more chicken or more mozzarella, so adjust them to your taste and the size and quantity of empanadas you are preparing:
Chicken (minced or cut into small pieces) – 400 grams
Cherry tomatoes (cut in half) – about 20 tomatoes
Mozzarella (shredded or cut into small pieces) – about 200 grams
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
100 grams ketchup
1 tea spoon chili flakes
1 tea spoon dry basil
1 tea spoon dry marjoram
4 table spoons olive oil/butter
Salt and pepper
In a large skillet heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and cook for a few minutes until lightly crisp. Add the meat and cook for a couple of minutes (it should turns white as it cooks).
Add the ketchup, basil, marjoram and chili. Cook another few minutes until the sauce starts to thicken. Add salt and pepper and turn off your stove.
To assemble the empanadas:
You have many choices at this point. You can make small calzone empanadas, small open empanadas or just one big. I decided to prepare small closed empanadas, and just for fun I left two of the empanadas open.
So, sprinkle a little bit of flour on your counter.
If you prepare the empanadas in one big pie dish, just take 2/3 of the dough for the base and save 1/3 of the dough to close the dish on top.
If you make small empanadas, just divide your dough in two, this way it will be easier to work with it.
Roll the first half of the dough as thin as you desire. I preferred to roll my dough as thinner as possible, because I want to have more of the filling instead of baked bread.
Cut circles or rectangles (depending on your dish shape) out of the rolled dough and spread them on the bottom of your dish/ramekins. Make sure to spray your dish/es with olive oil before you add the dough to avoid sticking. Other option is to place baking paper on the bottom of every dish.
On the base of dough, add one layer of the chicken filling, then add a couple of cherry tomatoes and finish with mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle some basil on top and you are ready to cover the filling with the top layer of the dough.
Empanadas (1 of 1)-2 Empanadas (4 of 5)
Roll the rest of the dough and cut small circles/rectangles to cover the empanadas.
Place the dough on top of the filling. Using your fingers, piece together the bottom and top layers of dough.
Using a fork, make a couple of small holes in the top layer of dough, so that while baking, all hot air exits.
Beat the egg yolk with a little bit of water in a small bowl and paint all tops of the empanadas.
Bake about 30 minutes for small empanadas (180 C/350 F) or 40 minutes for a bigger dish.
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