Empanadas with Cilantro Lime Crema

It occurred to us while making these the other night that Empanadas are like a spicy version of the Yooper Pasty … basically a meat pie!

We have usually made these with pork but had some leftover chicken from a bird we roasted so changed it up a bit. (our original pork recipe follows). Makes about 2 dozen.

Ingredients for Pastry:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 C  flour
  • 1 egg, beaten, for pastry egg wash

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth and light. Add salt and flour slowly until combined. Roll into two balls then flatten on floured plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Ingredients for Chicken filling:

  • Chicken meat (about a  pound total)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 T  EVOO
  • 1 large onion, halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 1 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  bay leaf
  • 1/4 C finely diced Spanish chorizo
  • 1/4 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (not hot)
  • 1/8 C chopped pitted green olives
  • 1/8 C golden raisins
  • 1/4 C dry white wine
  • 1/4 C chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Ingredients for Lime Crema:

  • 1/2 C sour cream
  • 3 T buttermilk (or yogurt)
  • 1/4 C finely chopped cilantro
  • Lime zest from 1/2 lime
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt to taste


Heat olive oil in skillet. Brown chicken then transfer to a cutting board and chop into raisin-sized pieces. Sauté onions, garlic, and bay leaves in fat remaining in skillet, stirring frequently, until onions are softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chorizo, paprika, curry powder and coriander 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, turning over once, until tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a clean plate. (Sauce in skillet should be the consistency of heavy cream; if it’s not, briskly simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.)  Stir chicken into sauce and discard bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, then cool filling, uncovered, about 30 minutes.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 15- by 10-inch shallow baking pan (1 inch deep) with 1 tablespoon oil.

Roll out the dough and cut out rounds.  Preheat oven to 375°F. On a lightly floured, smooth, clean surface, roll out one of the dough rounds to a thin 1/8-inch thickness.

Protip: If you don’t have a round cookie cutter, use a thin rimmed glass or mason jar to make your discs.

Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the inside edge of the rounds with egg wash (to help the empanadas seal). Place a teaspoon of meat inside each round. Fold the round over to and press the edges to seal shut. Use the tines of a fork to flute the edges. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.

Ingredients for Pork Filling (from

  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 Tbsp sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, chopped

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