Filled pastries such as empanadas, meat pies, pasties, or pirozki are loved all over the world for their handheld appeal, endless filling possibilities, and flaky containers. This includes the meat patty, found in Jamaica and throughout the Carribean, typically containing beef and flavored with scotch bonnet chilies, thyme, allspice and turmeric-heavy curry powder, all contained by a fried turmeric- or egg-yolk-tinted dough.
Hibiscus is also hugely popular in Jamaica (thus, “flor de Jamaica” in Spanish) and the Carribean, having originated in West Africa and spread all over the world through the Colombian Exchange and Transatlantic Slave Trade. Thus, Hibiscus Sabdariffa made its way to the South and is still cultivated today for its calices, or edible fruits, which are usually dried and made into a refreshing iced tea.
With this inspiration in mind, Chef Olivia Rader at the Georgia Grown Kitchen tried her hand at a version using store bought empanada dough and chicken thighs, while drawing from Argentina’s sweet and savory filling by using a secret ingredient: Georgia Grown member Pride Road’s locally grown, small-batch Hibiscus Chutney.
Bursting with golden raisins, whole pieces of ginger, warm spices and tangy candied hibiscus, this chutney also crosses into savory territory with hints of garlic, onion, and a slight spicy kick, making it the perfect complement to stir directly into the filling for added texture, and to serve alongside for spooning.
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 package of 10 frozen empanada dough discs (such as Goya Discos), defrosted and held in the fridge until ready to use
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup diced bell pepper
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon curry powder, preferably Jamaican-style
- 1/8 teaspoon dried scotch bonnet pepper, such as Grump’s
- 1 tablespoon flour
- ¼ cup Pride Road Hibiscus Chutney
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp water
- Place spices in a small bowl and stir to blend. Heat vegetable oil in Dutch oven over medium high heat. Meanwhile, pat chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Brown all over, remove from the pot and set aside.
- Add peppers and onions and sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant. Sprinkle flour over, and toss until evenly distributed with vegetables. Cook flour 1-2 minutes, then add spices and stir.
- Add ¼ of the chicken broth, scraping the bottom to incorporate all the cooked flour and browned bits, then gradually stir in the rest. Bring to a boil, return the chicken thighs to the pot, lower to a simmer, partially cover and cook for 30 minutes or until easily shredded with a fork. Remove empanada dough from the fridge.
- Place chicken thighs on a cutting board and let cool until easily handled. Shred chicken and add back to pot. If the mixture is too soupy, reduce for 10 minutes or until the liquid is the consistency of a thick sauce. Add chutney and stir to incorporate. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Spread the filling on a rimmed baking sheet, let cool for 10 minutes or so, then place in the fridge uncovered to cool completely, 1 hour or up to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk egg together with water in a small bowl. Dust your work surface with flour, and moisten the outer edges of one dough round. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center and press to seal, then crimp as desired. Repeat with remaining rounds without overfilling. Place empanadas on a baking sheet and brush with egg wash. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with Pride Road Hibiscus Chutney on the side.