Colombian Chicken Empanadas

Cuisine: Colombian
Servings: 22 medium empanadas

Since so many of you have asked me how to make empanadas with chicken instead of beef, I’m now posting my recipe for making Colombian Chicken Empanadas. All I do to my recipe is just substitute the meat and add some cooked white rice. Sometimes I also add boiled eggs, but in all honesty, you can add whatever ingredients you want.

I also wanted to address one of the issues some of you have had while making empanadas and that’s how to avoid cracks in your dough. Remember that you’re working with pre-cooked cornmeal, which tends to dry quickly if you don’t keep it moist or if you stop working with it. What I highly recommend you do is to fry the empanadas as soon as you assemble them and don’t let them sit out on your counter while you assemble the rest, because your dough will dry out fast. Another tip is to place a damp cloth or paper towel on top of them to keep them moist, but frying them as soon as you put them together works best.

With that said, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as you have enjoyed the first version of Colombian empanadas.

¡Buen provecho!


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  1. Place the chicken breast, green onions, white onion and garlic in a medium pot and cover with enough water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil on high heat, then lower to medium and cook for about 35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pot and let it cool. Shred with your hands and set aside.
  2. Place the potatoes in a medium pot, cover with water, and season with salt. Cover the pot and bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce to medium and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Drain and mash with a potato masher or fork and set aside.
  3. To make the masa (dough), add hot water in a large bowl (you can also use the water in which you cooked the chicken), add the chicken bouillon, food coloring, butter and salt. Stir well and then slowly add the pre-cooked cornmeal. Knead with your hands until it’s soft and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add the chopped green onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 3-5 minutes or until they’re softened. Season with cumin, chicken bouillon, salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked rice, mashed potatoes and shredded chicken; stir well. Test for seasoning and add more salt, if needed.
  5. To assemble the empanadas, cover a tortilla press with plastic, place a small ball in the center and press. You can also flatten the dough ball with a plate or the bottom of a small pot.
  6. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of the dough, then with the help of the plastic, fold the dough in half to form a half moon. Press the edge of the dough with your fingers and then make a clean cut around the border with a small bowl or large cup. Continue this process until you are done assembling the empanadas.
  7. Deep fry the empanadas at 350ºF for about 5-7 minutes or until they are golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately with Colombian hot sauce or Colombian green hot sauce and lime wedges.

Chef Notes

To avoid getting cracks in your empanadas, deep fry them as soon as you assemble them so the dough doesn’t dry out. You can serve them on a bed of chile verde sauce, topped with more queso fresco and avocado slices.

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