The dough’s lovingly made from scratch and well-worth the effort. But you can also just make the filling for tacos or burritos, or buy store-bought dough. The ground cumin, oregano, and brown sugar give the filling the perfect balance of savory and sweet flavors. Make a big batch of these empanadas and freeze them for a fast meal; reheat in the oven or toaster oven. Serve these empanadas with red or green chili sauce, or salsa — the hotter the better. They can be made with ground beef, ground chicken, or beans, too. Boost your greens intake and serve with a simple salad made of spinach or arugula.
olive oil cooking spray
1 medium clove(s), minced
1½ cup(s), finely chopped
1 cup(s), chopped
unpacked brown sugar
uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast(s)
canned chicken broth
6 large, thinly sliced
frozen green peas
1½ cup(s), thawedDough
¼ cup(s), cold
½ cup(s), cold
- To make filling, coat a very large skillet with cooking spray; add oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add garlic, cumin, oregano and salt; stir until garlic is fragrant, about 30 to 45 seconds. (Do not allow garlic to burn.) Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they turn translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and sugar; cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes more.
- Push vegetables to side of skillet and add chicken; brown chicken on each side, about 3 minutes total. Pour in broth; cover and cook for 10 minutes. Flip chicken; cover skillet and cook for 10 minutes more.
- Remove chicken from skillet; shred with a fork. Add chicken back to skillet and stir in olives and peas; warm through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- To make crust, in a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut lard into flour with a pastry cutter, knife or fork until pea-size lumps form. Make a well in middle of dough and add buttermilk. Work dough until it just comes together (dough should still look lumpy).
- Form dough into a large ball or patty; divide into 12 small balls. Place each ball on a floured surface and roll into a 4-inch circle. Top each circle with a heaping tablespoon of filling; wet edges of circles with water and fold in half to form empanadas. Place empanadas on an ungreased cookie sheet; crimp edges with tines of a fork. Bake until golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. Yields 1 empanada per serving.