Chicken empadinhas

Chicken empadinhas

Cabana The Cookbook
Martin Poole

Empanadas and empadinhas (little ones) are savoury pies found in bars and buffet tables throughout Brasil. Traditionally, an olive is placed in the centre – the origin of the expression 'a azeitona da empanada' (‘an olive in the empanada’), which refers to something that is the crucial element. Catupiry is a Brasilian soft cream cheese, but it’s hard to find, so you can substitute ordinary cream cheese. You can also replace the chicken with chopped canned palm hearts for a vegetarian version.


Quantity Ingredient
225g soft butter
450g plain flour, sifted
1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely crushed
1 plum tomato, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato puree
50g peas, thawed if frozen
200g skinless and boneless chicken, cooked and chopped
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon coriander, chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped
pinch ground nutmeg
100g catupiry or cream cheese
2 egg yolks, mixed with 2 tablespoons olive oil, to glaze
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. First, make the pastry. Put the butter in a stand mixer and beat until pale and light. Add the flour and salt and mix at low speed until combined. Gradually add the egg, mixing until the pastry starts to come together. Try to shape an olive-sized ball of dough – if it’s too dry, add 1 tablespoon cold water and mix again. Gather it into a ball, flatten it slightly, wrap it in clingfilm and chill in the fridge.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for 4–6 minutes, stirring, until soft but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Stir in the tomato and tomato purée and cook for 2–3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat. Mix in the rest of the ingredients except the cream cheese and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool before folding in the cream cheese. It should be moist and juicy, but not runny.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly butter three 12-hole mini pie or muffin tins. Roll out the dough to 3 mm thick on a lightly floured surface. Use a round pastry cutter 2–3 cm larger than the diameter of the holes in the tin to cut out 36 pastry circles. Press them into the prepared tins, leaving a little dough sticking out around the edge. Brush the base and sides with the egg and oil glaze. Place 1 teaspoon filling into each one. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out 36 rounds slightly bigger than the diameter of the pies. Cover the pies with the rounds, pressing the edges together to seal. Trim off any excess dough. Brush the tops with the glaze and bake for 20–25 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and cool slightly before turning out. Serve warm.
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