Harissa Chicken Empanadas image

Harissa Chicken Empanadas

Give your family and guests the gift of incredible flavour! Each empanada is a bundle of perfectly spiced chicken wrapped in a golden crust. There’s enough heat packed inside to make your tongue tingle but not so much to keep you from coming back for more. They’re perfect for any party or feast.

Yield: 30 pieces
Prep Time: 30 minutes + 1 hour cooling time + 30 minute chilling time
Cook Time: 35 minutes

Chef’s Tips:

  • Always zest citrus fruits before cutting and juicing them if both the zest and juice are called for in a recipe.
  • Prep and gather all ingredients before proceeding with the recipe.
  • Serve empanadas with Greek yogurt or desired sauce.
  • Ensure filling is cool before filling dough to keep dough from breaking. Filling can be made the day before being filled.
  • Taste the harissa. Some are mild, others can be very spicy, depending on the brand. Adjust the level of cayenne used in the recipe accordingly.
  • Do not allow cooked chicken to sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If chicken is cool enough to touch, place into the fridge to finish cooling down completely.


  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) harissa paste
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) honey
  • 2 tsp (4 g) lemon zest, finely grated
  • 1½ tsp (9 g) salt
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 cup (139 g) red onion, diced
  • 1 cup (134 g) red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp (2 g) dried parsley
  • 2 tsp (2 g) dried oregano
  • 1¼ tsp (2 g) smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp (3 g) onion powder
  • ½ tsp (2 g) ground cumin
  • ½ tsp (1 g) black pepper, freshly ground
  • ¼ tsp to ½ tsp (1 g) cayenne
  • 1 tbsp (3 pcs) garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp (28 g) butter
  • 1 lb (454 g) Sargent Farms Ground Chicken
  • ¼ cup (40 g) green olives, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp (g) mint, roughly chopped
  • 30 pcs store-bought 5” empanada discs, or 2-3 packages pie dough (rolled refrigerated pie crust)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) water


  1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, harissa paste, balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon zest, and salt until well blended. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add in the onions and bell pepper. Saute until onions are soft and translucent; 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the dried parsley, oregano, smoked paprika, onion powder, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne. Mix until onions and pepper are evenly coated with the spices and the spices become fragrant; about 1 minute. Sprinkle in the minced garlic and saute until garlic is fragrant; do not burn.
  3. Add in the butter and let melt. Add in the Sargent Farms Ground Chicken, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula as it goes into the pan. Saute chicken for 3 minutes, while continuously breaking up the chicken into smaller clumps.
  4. Pour the harissa mixture over the chicken, stirring to ensure the sauce covers the chicken evenly. Continue to saute and break down any large clumps of chicken for another 5 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink inside. Remove from heat. Fold in the roughly chopped olives and mint. Transfer to a wide shallow dish to cool to room temperature; place into fridge to cool completely. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. If using refrigerated pie dough, roll dough to about ¼-inch thick. Using a 5-inch round cutter, cut out rounds.
  6. Place about 2 tablespoons of the harissa chicken filling into the middle of each disc. Lightly dampen the edges of the round with water. Fold over the disc, creating a half moon shape. Press edges down with your fingers. Crimp edges or press edges together with a fork. Repeat process with remaining discs and filling. Place harissa chicken empanadas onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into the fridge to chill; 20 to 30 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, place about 2-3 inches of oil in a Dutch oven, and slowly heat oil to 360°F (182°C).
  8. Carefully place 3 or 4 chilled empanadas into the hot oil. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, flipping halfway through the process. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider. Drain on paper towels.
  9. Serve warm with Greek yogurt or desired dipping sauce.
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