Chicken and Bean Puff Pastry Empanadas

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 40 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 12 empanadas
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For the filling:

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed well

1 1/2 cups finely shredded cooked chicken

Kosher salt and black pepper

Kosher salt and black pepper 

1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves

1 package prepared puff pastry

Flour, for rolling out pastry

About 1/4 cup vegetable oil, for brushing

Tomato and Pineapple Salsa Fresca, recipe follows 

Tomato and Pineapple Salsa Fresca: 

1 pound ripe tomatoes (about 3 medium), roughly chopped

1 (14.5-ounce) can pineapple pieces, juice strained

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

1 small jalapeno, seeded and finely minced

3 scallions, finely sliced into 1/8-inch rounds

1 lime, juiced

2 pinches superfine sugar 

Kosher salt


  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Saute onions and garlic until onions are soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add spices, stir to mix fully, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add black beans and chicken and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until black beans are heated through, about 5 minutes, then remove from heat and let mixture cool fully. Add cilantro and stir well.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Lay out a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Flour the top of the dough and roll out the puff pastry until it is about 1/16-inch thick and about 12 inches by 16 inches.
  4. Trim edges to size, if necessary. Cut 4-inch strips crosswise and lengthwise making 12 (4 by 4-inch) squares. Make sure the squares are well floured and stack them in a little pile.
  5. To form empanadas:
  6. Fill a little dish with some room temperature water. Imagine each square you work with is separated in half by a diagonal. Place a couple tablespoons of filling in the top half. Dip a finger into the water and moisten the edges of the top half with water. Fold the bottom half to meet the edges of the top half. Use a fork to pinch and seal the edges. Lightly brush the tops with vegetable oil. Place finished pockets on a nonstick baking sheet and bake about 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy.

Tomato and Pineapple Salsa Fresca: 

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes, pineapple, garlic, jalapeno and scallions. Mix well. Add lime juice, sugar, and salt, to taste. Toss well. Serve with the Chicken Empanadas.