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CHICKEN EMPANADAS

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Ingredients
About 22 medium empanadas

1      medium half chicken breast
2      green onions, white part only
¼     white onion
2      cloves garlic, finely chopped
        Water (enough to cook the chicken)
2      large russet potatoes, cut into cubes
1½   tsp, salt, or to taste
        Water (enough to cook the potatoes)

Masa (dough)

3      cups (720 ml) hot water
1      chicken bouillon (optional)
1½   tsp food coloring (Sazón Goya, Triguisar o homemade substitute)
2      tbsp softened or melted butter
1      tsp salt, or to taste
3      cups (450 g) pre-cooked cornmeal (to make arepas)

Filling

2-3   tbsp olive oil
3      green onions, finely chopped, white part only
2      cloves garlic, finely chopped
2      medium tomatoes, chopped
1      tsp cumin powder
1      chicken bouillon (optional)
        Salt & pepper to taste
½     cup (125 g) cooked white rice
½     cup (25 g) cilantro, finely chopped (optional)

Oil for frying (vegetable, canola, corn)


Directions

1. Place the chicken breast, green onions, white onion and garlic in a medium pot and cover with enough water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil on high heat, then lower to medium and cook for about 35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pot and let it cool. Shred with your hands and set aside.

2. Place the potatoes in a medium pot, cover with water, and season with salt. Cover the pot and bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce to medium and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Drain and mash with a potato masher or fork and set aside.

3. To make the masa (dough), add hot water in a large bowl (you can also use the water in which you cooked the chicken), add the chicken bouillon, food coloring, butter and salt. Stir well and then slowly add the pre-cooked cornmeal. Knead with your hands until it's soft and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.

4. Heat the olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add the chopped green onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 3-5 minutes or until they're softened. Season with cumin, chicken bouillon, salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked rice, mashed potatoes and shredded chicken, stir well. Test for seasoning and add more salt, if needed.

5. To assemble the empanadas, cover a tortilla press with plastic, place a small ball in the center and press. You can also flatten the dough ball with a plate or the bottom of a small pot.

6. Place about 1 tbsp of filling in the center of the dough, then with the help of the plastic fold the dough in half to form a half moon. Press the edge of the dough with your fingers and then make a clean cut around the border with a small bowl or large cup. Continue this process until you are done assembling the empanadas.

7. Deep fry the empanadas at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 5-7 minutes or until they are golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately with Colombian hot sauce or Colombian green hot sauce and lime wedges.

** To avoid getting cracks in your empanadas, deep fry them as soon as you assemble them so the dough doesn't dry out.




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