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Francisca’s Empanadas

Yields40 ServingsPrep Time1 hrCook Time45 minsTotal Time1 hr 45 mins

Francisca worked at the Berkeley Food Collective with her Chilean husband - at the heart of one of the most formative food movements the USA has ever seen. Francisca is from Mexican descent, and together, along with the other Latin American workers, they contributed one Latin American recipe each to the menu. Francisca learnt how to make empanadas there, both in the Chilean way and the Argentinian way. Later on in life, Francisca used to sell these empanadas out of a food cart at the University of Wisconsin.

 2 tbsp baking powder
 2 tsp salt
 2 ½ tsp sugar
 ¾ cup corn oil
 2 ⅓ cups boiling water
 1 kg plain wheat flour
Potato and Cheese
 5 potatoes
 cheese, equal weight to potatoes
 1 paprika
 1 tsp salt
Chicken and Onion
 4 eggs
 1 kg chicken breast
 6 onions
 2 tsp salt
 2 tbsp paprika
 1 tsp pepper
 2 tbsp cumin
 ½ cup chopped parsley
 4 tbsp corn oil
 ¾ cup water
 4 tsp plain flour
 1 black olives, can

Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Add the boiling water and oil, and with a big wooden spoon mix until it all comes together in a cohesive mass. Turn out onto a floured bench and knead until dough becomes a smooth ball. Return to the bowl dusted with flour, cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for ten minutes. Separate out the dough into balls of 70 grams each, and then roll out in a circle to 1/8 inch thickness.

Filling 1: Potato and Cheese

You can use whatever cheese you like - we used Argentinian queijo and a jalapeno cheddar mix.

Mash all ingredients together.

Filling 2: Chicken and Onion

Fry spices in 3 tablespoons corn oil until fragrant, add chicken and seal. Add the other tablespoon of oil and the onions, and let cook over low heat until onions have cooked down about 30-40%.


Add parsley, cook for a minute or two, and then add flour and water to thicken. Stir and cook over heat for another 5 minutes.


Boil the eggs, cut into slices (each into about 8).


Deposit a dollop of filling in the middle of each rolled out piece of dough, and then brush around the edges with water so it will stick. Each chicken empanada should have a large dollop of chicken filling, one egg slice, an olive or two and a couple of raisins.


Fold over the dough so that it creates a half moon shape, and press the edges together. Starting from one side, fold the edges up over each other, overlapping, to create a ruffled edge. Brush tops with beaten egg, prick with a knife, and place on a greased and floured baking tray and bake for 30-45 minutes at 350ºF/180ºC until golden brown on top and lightly crispy.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 40