Chipotle chiles give these chicken empanadas a characteristic taste of Central Mexico. I’ve made these as Mexican mini empanadas (empanaditas) for a party buffet, and recommend chopping everything very finely in order to fill smaller dough rounds.
For the dough:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cups masa harina or very fine cornmeal
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, lard or shortening
- 2 egg yolks
- ¾ cup water
Combine first four ingredients in a mixing bowl or food processor bowl. Add the butter and mix until incorporated. Add the egg yolks and water, and continue mixing until a soft dough has formed.
Place dough on a floured surface and knead until smooth. Cover the dough and let rest for 30 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 3 inch rounds. You should have about 2 dozen discs.
For the filling:
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 4 roma tomatoes, seeded, peeled and chopped
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 chicken breast, poached and shredded
- 2 chipotles en adobo, coarsely chopped (seeds removed for less picante)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup queso fresco or farmer’s cheese, crumbled
- Oil for frying
- Sugar for sprinkling (optional)
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet. Sauté the onion until transparent. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they have rendered their juices.
Add the cumin, cinnamon, chicken, chipotles, and broth. Cook over medium heat until mixture has reduced and thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the mixture among the empanada discs. These are small, so about 1 teaspoon in the center of each will be enough. Sprinkle the filling lightly with the cheese.
Moisten the edges of the empanada discs with water. Seal edges with the tines of a fork.
Pour oil into a depth of about 2 inches, heat to 375°F. If you do not have a deep fat thermometer, insert the handle end of a wooden spoon, holding upright, into the oil. When the oil starts to foam around the wooden spoon handle, it is ready for frying.
Fry empanadas, a few at a time to avoid crowding the pan, turning once, until golden brown on each side. Remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with sugar if desired. Makes about 2 dozen empanaditas.
Mexican empanadas: Portable pockets of flavor