Empanada recipe with Jamaican & Tex Mex chicken filling



Last week, I got a little bit patty crazy! I prepared empanadas and Jamaican patties.

The initial plan was to make a nice Pecan pie. The pie turned out rather nicely, but sadly, it didn’t quite make it to the photo shoot. Fortunately, I had another disk of dough left. Rather than feel guilty about making (and eating) another dessert pie, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to try empanadas.

I have one go-to pie dough recipe which I use and it has never failed me. Although the original recipe made use of shortening, which doesn’t quite appeal to me. So, I replaced shortening with butter – because everything is better with butter! While shortening will make your dough flaky, you can certainly achieve the same amount of flakiness using butter as well.

For the empanada filling, I used a Tex-Mex  flavoured chicken filling made with diced potatoes and green peas. You can find many other empanada fillings if the Tex-Mex flavour doesn’t strike your fancy. For the Jamaican patties, I added a little bit of turmeric powder when I prepared the dough to give that colour. You could also use yellow curry powder.

Since I’m trying out new things, I experimented with taking photos of the patties as well. I wanted to play with light and shadow to create something different from the usual soft shadow food photos. I used a Manfrotto LED continuous lighting for this shot and it was very effective for what I wanted to achieve.

The Jamaican patty was shot on a very dreary winter afternoon, so another light source was essential. Here are photos of the Jamaican patties, I think they came out quite nicely.

So everyone, get your bake-on! 🙂

Pie Dough Recipe


  • 4  cups all-purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1 3/4 cup butter, unsalted (keep it very cold)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp Sugar (optional)


  1. Sift flour into a bowl.
  2. Dissolve sugar and salt in cold water.
  3. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers or cut the butter with a pastry cutter, work on it until it the fat particles are “pea-size”.
  4. Add the water to the flour mixture. Mix very gently just until the water is incorporated and the dough has formed.
  5. Divide the dough into to 2 place on a parchment paper and flatten into a disk and cover with saran wrap. Store in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp of water

Mix the egg and water.

Tex-Mex Chicken Filling  

This recipe yields to about 6 empanadas. You can double up the recipe if you’re planning to make more. 


  • 2 chicken breast skinless (use boneless for easier prep)
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil / Canola Oil
  •  1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup red potato, diced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup green peas
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper


  1. Season both sides of  the chicken with salt and pepper and 1 tsp of cumin powder.
  2. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil to fry the chicken until fully cooked. Once the chicken has cooked, shred the chicken by using 2 forks.
  3. In the same skillet, add olive oil / canola oil if needed and sweat onions and garlic then add the potatoes followed by the tomato sauce. Season with cumin, oregano, and chili flakes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the potatoes are done, add the green peas and remove from heat.
  4. Add the chicken, making sure to evenly distribute the shredded chicken. The consistency should not be runny. Let it cool and set aside.
  5. Prepare egg wash.
  6. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4″. Cut out the dough in equal sizes, you may opt to do it in squares or circles. I opted for the squares for this, easier and maximizes the dough without and dough scraps. You may likely be able to roll-out roughly 8″ x 12″ inches at minimum from half the pie dough recipe.
  7. Fill the squares with the chicken mixture, fold over the each square and crimp the edges with a fork. Place the empanadas on your baking sheet.
  8. Brush with egg wash and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet and let cool on the wire rack.

Jamaican Beef Filling

Makes about 10 patties

Use the same pie dough recipe above, with that you can add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder or curry powder for that yellow colour. Mix it in with the flour before sifting. 


  • 2 tbsp canola / olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 chopped Scotch Bonnet pepper (I substituted 2 green chili instead, didn’t have it my fridge)
  • 1  lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tsps all-spice powder
  • 1/2 tsps Dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup beef stock


  1. In a  skillet, heat oil and sweat the onion, garlic and pepper.
  2. Add the tomato sauce then the ground beef. Make sure to break down chunks into small pieces. Season with salt, pepper, all-spice, dried thyme and give it a stir. Let it cook for about 10 minutes or until the beef has browned.
  3. Add the breadcrumbs and stock, stir. Let simmer, stirring occasionally until liquid evaporates, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  4. Sprinkle flour on your work surface to roll out dough. Once you’ve rolled out the dough, cut into cirlces about 6″ diameter (I don’t didn’t have a cutter that big, so I used a bowl with the approximate diameter – worked out fine).
  5. Fill each circle dough then with the meat – about 5 tablespoons (more or less, depends how much filling you’d prefer). Crimp with a fork to seal.
  6. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg wash and bake at 375 for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown.

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