Ancora's Aji De Gallina empanadas

Chef Ricardo Valverde's recipe for shredded chicken empanadas

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Whether you're looking for a snack, appetizer to go with dinner or the ultimate party food, these empanadas fit the bill. At Vancouver's Ancora Waterfront Dining & Patio, chef Ricardo Valverde highlights the restaurants West Coast, Latin and Japanese influences with these Peruvian-inspired aji de gallina (shredded chicken) empanadas.

Empanada dough

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
125 mL cold unsalted butter, cut in small cubes
70 mL cold ice water

Mix flour and salt together in a food processor.

Add the cubes of butter and pulse until dough is mealy.

Add cold water, as needed, pulse and mix until clumps of dough start to form.

Remove dough from food processor and knead until a ball is formed.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest for at least one hour.

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.

Dough can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge up to three days.

Chicken filling

canola oil
1 large red onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
90 g aji amarillo paste
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
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 pinch nutmeg
sea salt and pepper, to taste

In a frying pan, sweat the onion and garlic with canola oil until translucent over medium heat.

Add the aji amarillo paste and sweat for 10 minutes.

Add the soaking bread, stirring continuously, and let cook for two minutes.

Add all of the remaining ingredients – except for parsley – and adjust seasoning as needed. Remove from heat.

Once mixture is cold, mix in parsley.


1 egg yolk, if baking

Preheat oven to 375°F.

On a floured surface, remove rolled dough and place 1.5 oz. of filling in the middle of each circle of dough.

Brush the edges of the dough with beaten egg mixture.

Fold the pastry over to form a half circle pocket around the filling. Using a fork, pinch down the edges to seal the empanada. 

Brush dough on both sides with beaten egg and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Alternatively, you can fry the empanadas at 350°F for three minutes. Serve and enjoy.