About the Recipe
Empanadas, those delightful hand-held pastries, have an incredible ability to transport your taste buds to far-off places with every savory bite. Whether enjoyed as a snack, appetizer, or a full meal, these delectable creations have earned their place as beloved comfort food around the world.
This recipe, presents a bit of a twist on the classic empanada by the addition of hearty and wholesome lentils, creating a delectable and vegetarian alternative if you wish to omit the chicken. To elevate the flavor profile, I've enhanced the dough with a touch of ground cumin, infusing it with warm and earthy notes that perfectly complement the lentil filling.
These Chicken and Lentil Empanadas with Cumin-Spiced Dough offer a tantalizing fusion of textures and tastes, encased in a flaky, golden pastry shell.
Whether served at gatherings or enjoyed as a quick and satisfying meal, these empanadas promise to be a memorable culinary adventure.
So, let's embark on this flavorful journey and craft these delectable pockets of goodness together.
For the Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup cold water
1 egg (for egg wash)
For the Filling:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup lentils (cooked or canned)
1 cup carrots, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup pitted green olives, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
These chicken empanadas are a tasty treat that can be served as a snack or a main course. Substitute the chicken for mushrooms or tofu for a vegetarian option. You can customize the filling with your favorite ingredients and spices to suit your taste.
For the Dough:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and cumin.
Add the cold butter cubes to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Gradually add the cold water and knead the dough until it comes together. If the dough is too dry, you can add a little more water, a tablespoon at a time. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.
For the Filling:
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and sauté until they become translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the diced chicken pieces and cook until they are no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes.
Stir in the lentils, carrots and olives. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Season the filling with ground cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine all the flavors. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the filling cool.
Assembling the Empanadas:
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a floured surface, roll out the chilled dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. Use a round cutter or a small plate to cut out circles approximately 4-5 inches in diameter.
Place a spoonful of the chicken filling in the center of each dough circle.
Fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape. Press the edges firmly to seal the empanada. You can use a fork to crimp the edges for a decorative touch.
Tip: If you fold them so that the bottom layer of the moon slightly surpases the top layer, you can fold it over the top layer to create a better seal (like the seal of an envelope)
Beat the egg and brush it over the tops of the empanadas. This will give them a nice golden color when baked.
Place the assembled empanadas on the prepared baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown and crispy.
Let the empanadas cool slightly before serving.
Enjoy your homemade chicken and lentil empanadas!