Makes approximately 30 large empanadas; an ideal party food that can be prepared ahead of time, and frozen and baked just before serving.
Recipe can be divided in half.
• 12 chicken thighs trimmed and baked. Makes approximately 4 cups minced
• Olive oil
• 2 cups chopped sweet onion
• 2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
• 1.5 teaspoons red pepper flakes
• 3.25 cups frozen sweet corn thawed
• 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
• 2.5 teaspoons corn starch
• 1.5 cups green olives stuffed with pimiento, chopped
• Salt to taste. Start with 1 teaspoon at a time, then taste
• 1.5 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
• 3 Frozen packages of 10 Goya Empanada Discs, thawed. Sold frozen in most Latin American markets (allow to thaw overnight in refrigerator)
• 1 egg
• 2 Baking sheets
• Parchment paper
• Pastry brush
• 3 clean dish towels
• Two small bowls
• Rolling pin
• 1/3 measuring cup
Making The Filling
• Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
• Line two baking pans with aluminum foil.
• Divide the 12 chicken thighs cleaned and trimmed between the two baking pans.
• Put pans on the center rack of your oven, and bake for about 20 minutes. When cooked, set aside to cool.
• While the chicken cools, set a 12″ non stick skillet over med high heat. Put enough olive oil in the pan to cover bottom generously. When oil is hot, but not smoking, put chopped onion, red pepper flakes, mexican oregano in the skillet to cook until onion is translucent and beginning to brown.
• Add sweet corn, combine and cook until just warmed through. Remove from heat.
Preparing The Chicken
• Cut into very rough pieces, and put in a food processor to finely mince.
• If you don’t have a food processor, simply cut the chicken into very small pieces with a knife.
• Add the chicken to the corn mixture, combine well, and heat over medium high heat. At this point the chicken corn mixture needs moisture.
• In a separate bowl, mix the cornstarch to the chicken broth. Stir until it is dissolved, then add to the chicken corn mixture. Cook long enough for the liquid to boil and the broth to thicken. Remove from heat.
• Let cool about 10 minutes before stirring in the chopped olives.
• Refrigerate filling until chilled; stir in cheese.
• The filling can be tightly covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
• It’s best to make the filling the day before assembling the empanadas. It gives the flavors time to develop.
Assembling The Empanadas
In your work area you will need: The filling, 1/3 measuring cup, empanada discs, 3 damp dish towels, rolling pin, a small bowl of water, fork, small bowl with beaten egg for wash, pastry brush, and two parchment lined baking sheets.
• Goya makes a very decent empanada disc. They are sold frozen in most latin american markets. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and take the thawed discs out of the refrigerator about an hour before assembling the empanadas. Keep discs in package and let them warm to room temperature. This will make them easier to separate and handle.
• Remove empanada discs from package, cover disc with damp towel to keep them from drying out.
• Separate 1 disc from the stack. Roll out just enough to make the disc about 1/2″ bigger in diameter. The main idea is not to make it bigger, but to make the pastry thinner.
• Dip your fingers into the water and wet the edges of the disc, to make a 1/2″ wide border all the way around. This will be the glue that makes the pastry stick together.
• Scoop a level 1/3 cup of filling into the center of the bottom half of circle. With your fingers, spread the filling out to the sides, leaving the 1/2″ border. Picking up the pastry edge from the top, pull the dough over the filling, stretching slightly to form a half moon shape enclosing the filling. Press down with your fingers all along the edges to seal. With the fork, crimp the pastry with the tine of the fork to seal and make a decorative edge. Repeat with the remaining discs. As you assemble the empanadas, place them on the parchment paper lined baking sheets, keeping them covered with damp dish towels as you assemble them. Once you have filled two baking sheets, brush each empanada with the egg wash, cut two steam vents in the top of pastry.
• Pre heat oven to 425 degrees.
• Bake empanadas approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.
• Cool 10 minutes before serving.
Once the empanadas are filled and brushed with egg, they can be frozen and then baked anytime, without defrosting, in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 – 40 minutes.