I don’t know why, but like a nervous tick, I just can’t have plain chicken. I know it’s delicious and people “can’t get enough of roast chicken!” Not to say I won’t eat plain ol’ barbecued chicken, but come on people, why eat that when it can be simmered and stuffed inside flakey pastry? If you’re not feeling the pastry ordeal, this filling is so good you could eat it plain, wrapped in a tortilla or even over rice.
Makes 8 large empanadas
4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I swapped 1/2 cup with whole wheat flour)
3 teaspoons salt
2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs
2/3 cup ice water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
20 chicken drumsticks
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions,diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
1/4 cup finely diced Spanish chorizo – I used dried/smoked chorizo from Buckingham
1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (not hot)
1/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Make Dough: Sift flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. (Mixture will look shaggy.) Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together. Don’t be scared if it looks like this, knead it and it will become the envy of your friends (that you can make pastry from scratch!) Form dough into a rectangles and chill n plastic wrap, at least 1 hour. Dough can be chilled up to 6 hours total. I personally prefer to use vegetable shortening as a fat in my pastry; flavour and texture wise.
Make Filling: 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 leaves 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 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 slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.) 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.
Form Empanadas: Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces and form each into a disk. Keeping remaining pieces covered, roll out 1 piece on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 5-inch round (about 1/8 inch thick).
Spoon about 2 tablespoons filling onto center and fold dough in half, enclosing filling. Press edges together to seal, then crimp decoratively with your fingers or tines of a fork. Transfer empanada to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Lightly brush empanadas with some of egg wash and bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer empanadas to a rack to cool at least 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.