Growing up out west and living and working with folks from all over Mexico, Central and South America, I do know there are some huge regional differences among the various countries and cultures.  Food-wise, even similar ingredients can be put together in such a way that one look or bite can yell out ‘Nicaragua’ or ‘El Salvador’, or ‘Mexico’.  But knowing there are huge differences doesn’t necessarily stop me from lumping everyone and everything together when I’m looking for dinner ideas.  Using a Salvadoran pupusa-type filling for a Mexican-style enchilada with a Cuban sauce is a natural for me.  And if I happen to have brussel’s sprouts in the fridge, they can become that night’s side vegetable. My own mini-UN dinner.

If I’m cooking for company or for an occasion of some sort, I’ll generally follow the rules a bit more, but Tuesday dinner is Tuesday dinner…

With that thought in mind, I decided to make empinadas for dinner tonight.

The recipes started out at Bon Appetit, but I played around with them to suit my ingredients.

Empadada Dough

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup ice water mixed with
  • 1 tbsp distilled white vinegar

Pulse flour, salt, and butter in food processor about 4-5 times.  Add egg, ice water and vinegar and pulse a few more times to bring it all together.  Knead it a few times on a lightly floured board and mthen roll out to about a 1/4″ thickness.  Using a 4″-5″ bowl as a guide, cut out as many circles as you can.  Reroll scraps and cut out a few more.


Empanada Filling

  • 2 lbs chicken thighs (bone-in are best)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 jar pimento, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lb diced chorizo
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 cup chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over moderately high heat. Brown chicken and then transfer to a plate. Sauté onions, peppers, 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 olives, 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, until tender, 30 minutes total.

Remove chicken, shred, and mix back into sauce.  Sauce shoulkd be pretty thick.  If it’s not, simmer, uncovered, for a few minutes.  Cool.

Fill empanadas with about 2 tbsp filling, crimp and seal with fork.

Fry in hot oil about 5 minutes or until nicely browned.


I also made a quick sauce for the empanadas with tomato sauce, chipotles, garlic, cumin… yum.


Spanish-style rice, a bit of corn, and a cold Corona.

Life is good.