Saltenha (Savoury pastry filled with chicken)

The name saltenha is derived from the Spanish word salteña. It is a typical dish of the state of Acre, inherited from Bolivian street food. It is a savoury pastry filled with meat and vegetables, a cousin to the empanada, which can be found in all over Latin America.

Ingredients

  • Ingredients for the dough:
  • • 500 g all purpose flour
  • • 100 g butter
  • • 1 egg
  • • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • • 1 teaspoon salt
  • • 1 level teaspoon colorau or tomato paste
  • • 150 ml warm water (approximately)
  • Ingredients for the filling:
  • • 400 g chicken breast
  • • 1 onion
  • • 2 garlic cloves
  • • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • • salt, cumin and chilli pepper
  • • 1 rounded tablespoon sugar
  • • 1 level teaspoon colorau or tomato paste
  • • 150 g di potatoes
  • • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • • 1 tablespoon butter
  • • 50 g raisins (optional)
  • • 50 g pitted green olives

Preparation method

Dough Preparation:
1. Melt the butter with the "colorau" or tomato paste. 
2. Put the flour in a bowl, add salt, sugar and melted butter (lukewarm). Mix together the ingredients, then blend with fingertips until the mixture is mealy. 
3. Add egg and warm water, little by little, mixing well. Knead by hand until the dough doesn't stick to your hands. 
4. Cover with plastic wrap to keep the dough from drying out and creating a crust, and let stand for 1 hour. 

Filling Procedure:

1. Cut the potatoes into small cubes. Place the potatoes cubes in a saucepan, cover with water, add salt and cook them until tender, but not falling apart. Drain and set aside. 
2. Sauté onion with the olive oil until tender. Add the chopped garlic and the chicken breast cut into small pieces. Cook over high heat for 2 minutes. Cover with a lid and cook over low heat, until very tender. 
3. Using two forks, shred chicken breast cubes. You can do this directly in the pan.  
4. Combine the spices, sugar, "colorau", parsley, butter and boiled potatoes. Let cook for a few minutes more over medium heat. If the filling is too liquid, sprinkle with a little flour and cook and stir over low heat until thickened. 

To assemble saltenha:
1. Roll out the dough to 2 mm thick. Cut out discs 10-12 cm in diameter. 
2. Place a spoonful of filling and an olive in the middle of each disc. 
3. Fold dough over filling to form a semicircle. 
4. Hold the saltenha with one hand and press the edges together to seal. Then, using the thumb and the forefinger of your other hand, a little at a time, pinch and lightly pull up a triangle of dough of the seal edge, twist it over itself and press to seal, forming a kind of braid: the signature look of saltenhas and empanadas. The braid (scalloped edge) is not easy to do, so, alternatively, you can seal edge by pressing with the tines of a fork. 
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 °C until golden brown. It takes roughly 45 minutes. Alternatively you can fry them in deep oil.  

Yield: 16-18 "saltenhas".
Posted on: 13 October 2015
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