2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions, chopped

1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

kosher salt and freshy ground black pepper

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

1 tablespoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 packages (12 each) puff pastry dough for turnovers/empanadas (preferably Goya)


1.  Bring chicken, bay leaves and 2-1/2 cups water to a simmer in a medium pot over medium heat and cook until the chicken is cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a plate, discard the bay leaves and reserve the broth.  Let the chicken sit until cool enough to handle, then coarsely chop. 

2.  Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and cook onion and bell peppers, stirring, until tender but not browned, 6 to 8 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, stir in tomato paste and cook until brick red, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add paprika, oregano and cayenne and cook, attiring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add reserved broth and chicken along with any accumulated juices to pot.  Stir in 4 teaspoons salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.  Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, until most of the liquid is evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes.  Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.  Transfer to a medium bowl, cover and chill at least 3 hours.

3.  Preheat oven to 375*.  Let dough sit at room temperature 15 minutes to temper.  Remove 6 rounds from each package, keeping the plastic divider underneath, and arrange on a work surface.  Place 2 tablespoons filling in the center of each round and top with 2 olive halves.  Brush water around half of outer edge of each round.  Using the plastic divider to help you, fold round over filling and pinch edges to seal.  Using a fork, crimp edges.  Remove plastic and transfer empanada to a parchment lined sheet tray, spacing 1 inch apart.  Repeat with remaining rounds (you’ll get about 12 empanadas on each tray)Bake empanadas, rotating tray halfway through, until golden brown and slightly darker around the edges, 25 to 35 minutes.

NOTE: Filling can be made 3 days ahead.  Keep chilled.  Unbaked empanadas can be made 3 months ahead:  freeze on sheet tray, then transfer to freezer bags and keep frozen.


from Gaby Melian, Bon Appetit Magazine, February, 2017

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