Recipe: Traditional Peruvian empanadas

Traditional Peruvian empanadas. Ancora restaurant

Holiday season is all about entertaining, which means there’s always room for another appetizer recipe.

Why not spice things up with a little taste of South America?

Chef Ricardo Valverde from Ancora restaurant his here with a recipe for traditional Peruvian empanadas.


Empanada Dough

  •         1 cup all-purpose flour
  •         125 ml cold unsalted butter, cut in small cubes
  •         70 ml cold ice water
  •         1 egg yolk (if baking)

Chicken Filling

  •         Canola oil
  •         One large red onion, finely diced
  •         Three garlic cloves, finely diced
  •         90 g ‘aji amarillo’ paste (available at Granville Island Public Market or online)
  •         250 ml chicken stock
  •         370 ml evaporated milk
  •         2 slices white bread, crusts removed (soak in 120ml of evaporated milk)
  •         210 g pulled poached chicken breast
  •         2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  •         3 Tbsp. chopped roasted walnuts
  •         ½ cup fresh chopped parsley
  •         Pinch of nutmeg
  •         Salt and pepper to taste


Empanada dough

  1.    Mix flour and salt together in a food processor.
  2.    Add the cubes of butter and pulse until dough is mealy.
  3.    Add cold water, as needed, pulse and mix until clumps of dough start to form.
  4.    Remove dough from food processor and knead until a ball is formed.
  5.    Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest for at least one hour.
  6.    To make the empanada discs, roll out the dough into a five-millimetre thick layer and cut into circular shapes (approximately 12cm diameter) using a mold or a small plate.
  7.    Dough can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge up to three days.

Chicken Filling

  1.       In a frying pan, sweat the onion and garlic with canola oil until translucent over medium heat.
  2.       Add the aji amarillo paste and sweat for 10 minutes.
  3.       Add the soaking bread, stirring continuously, and let cook for two minutes.
  4.       Add all of the remaining ingredients – except for parsley – and adjust seasoning as needed.
  5.       Remove from heat.
  6.       Once mixture is cold, mix in parsley


  1.       On a floured surface, remove rolled dough and place 1.5 oz. of filling in the middle of each circle of dough.
  2.       Brush the edges of the dough with beaten egg mixture.
  3.       Fold the pastry over to form a half circle pocket around the filling.
  4.       Using a fork, pinch down the edges to seal the empanada.
  5.       If baking, brush dough on both sides with beaten egg and cook in oven for 15-20 minutes at 375°F or until golden brown.
  6.       If frying, cook at 350°F for three minutes.
  7.       Serve and enjoy.

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