Glenn Lindgren: In Spanish, 'empanar' means to bread, or coat with bread crumbs. Empanadas are pastries filled with meat, seafood, cheese, and so on. This dish probably originated in Galicia in Spain. It is a common dish throughout Latin America.
Jorge Castillo: They are extremely popular in Argentina and many of the varieties include hard boiled eggs and raisins!
Raúl Musibay: Empanadas are a popular item for street vendors, because they are easy to eat on the run.
Jorge Castillo: Empanadas come in all sizes, from large "complete meal" versions to small little bocaditos, used as appetizers at parties and family gatherings.
Glenn Lindgren: In Cuba, the empanada was most likely introduced by the Spanish and given an island flavor with a touch of citrus, garlic, onion and pepper.
INGREDIENTS:2 tablespoons olive oil
Place chicken, bay leaf, chicken broth, wine, salt, and pepper in a three-quart saucepan. Add enough water to just cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the chicken is cooked -- about 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken, and allow it to cool. Strain and save the broth.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, skin and de-bone. Finely shred the meat. Stir in the flour, and the onion/garlic mixture you set aside (above). Stir in 1/4 cup of the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for five to 10 minutes.
Use the cornstarch (mixed with water) to tighten up the filling. Add just enough to make the filling moist but not runny.
Put one tablespoon of the filling into the center of each circle, fold and seal. (Diagram)
Cook as indicated in the baked or fried recipe.
Preheat the oven to 350º
Place the pastries on a lightly greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart, brush with the egg wash, and bake until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. They can be made ahead of time, refrigerated, and reheated in a 350º oven for 4 to 6 minutes.
Heat oil in a frypan to 350º F. (Or you can use a deep fat fryer.)
Fry the empanadas in the oil, turning occasionally until brown on all sides.
Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.
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