Empanadas are one of the fondest food memories I have from my first visit to Chile with David. Empanadas are even more of an institution in Chile than a pie is for Australians. A wide variety of fillings are available with a meat mixture, ‘pino’, being the most popular. However, our recipe is a less typical melt-in-the-mouth three-cheese and onion combo. Mini empanadas are great because they are ideal finger food for when you’re entertaining and they are also filling.
Prep 1 hr
Cook 20 min
Yield 20–25 mini empanadas
Suggested match Non-vintage New World sparkling
PAIRING STYLE CLEANSING
This is a creative take on a classic Chilean favourite. The flaky baked pastry yields to the rich textural sensation of the three cheeses enveloping the chicken. The spring onion creates a link between the melted cheese stretch and the crisp essence of the wine. A non-vintage sparkling effectively cleanses the palate of the rich flavours, with a fresh fizz to prepare for the second bite.
2 large chicken breasts, diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 packet of puff pastry, defrosted
250g (9oz) cream cheese
150g (5½oz) light cheddar, grated
150g (5½oz) light Swiss cheese, grated
4 spring onions (scallions), very finely sliced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
sprinkle of chilli flakes (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Over a medium heat, start frying the chicken and garlic in a medium frying pan. Cover the chicken with a large saucepan lid on an angle (you can use a wooden spoon to achieve this) and add a small splash of water to retain humidity and promote juiciness in the chicken. Cook until tender and ready to eat.
Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the cooked chicken, grated cheeses, cream cheese, onions, basil and chilli flakes and mix together. Season with salt and pepper. Place the pastry on a floured work surface and cut out approximately 16cm (6¼ inches) diameter circles (we used a saucer as a cutting guide). Spoon a heaped teaspoon of the filling into the middle of each circle, being careful not to overfill. Brush the edges with the egg wash and fold each circle in half. Gently press on the top of the empanada to release any air.
You can simply press the edges together with a fork, however for the authentic finish we used the repulgue technique – it’s easier than you might think – see Fig. 2. Squeeze the edges together with your fingers. Then it’s a simple pinch and fold process. Starting from one corner, pinch a finger-width together and pull it out gently and then fold it over onto itself. Move another finger-width away and do the same, but fold a slight overlap onto the first fold. Continue until you reach the other side. Brush the top with some egg. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.