Martha Stewart's Spicy Chicken Empanadas

Makes about 40 empanadas


  • 1 whole chicken breast (1 pound), skin removed
  • 1/2 white onion, halved
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 fresh poblano chile
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground canela (Mexican cinnamon) or regular cinnamon
  • 4 canned plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, coarsely chopped
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 recipe for empanada dough
  • 1/2 cup shredded queso blanco
  • 1/4 cup sugar, for sprinkling
  • Crema pura or sour cream, for serving (optional)


Step 1: Place chicken breast, half the onion, and the bay leaf in a medium saucepan.
Cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and poach until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. 
Step 2: Transfer chicken to a plate; reserve 1 cup cooking liquid, and discard onion and bay leaf. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred meat from the bone with a fork; set aside.
Step 3: Roast poblano chile directly over a gas flame or a broiler, turning as each side blackens and blisters. Transfer to a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap; let steam 10 minutes. Remove plastic wrap; peel off and discard blackened chile skin. Remove stem, seeds, and ribs; discard. Slice chile into 1/4-inch strips; set aside.
Step 4: Finely chop remaining onion. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic; saute until soft and translucent. 
Step 5: Stir in cumin and cinnamon; cook 1 minute. Add shredded chicken, tomatoes, chipotle, poblano, and reserved cooking liquid. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until liquid has thickened, about 25 minutes. 
Step 6: Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper; stir in cilantro and pepitas. Set aside to cool.
Step 7: Roll the dough to a 10x15-inch rectangle, fold in thirds as in dough preparation, then roll again to less than 1/8-inch thickness.
Step 8: Cut into 3-inch circles. 
Step 9: Place about 1 to 2 teaspoons filling in the center of each circle. Sprinkle with cheese. Fold in half and seal well with your fingers, then press with the tines of a fork, or press and fold with your thumb with a rolling motion for a decorative edge. Pastries can be filled, then refrigerated or frozen until baking time.
Step 10: Brush with the beaten egg. Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until a deep golden color. Baking time may vary depending on size and thickness of pastries.
Step 11: Serve immediately with crema pura or cream on the side, if desired.

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