This Pastel de Pollo filled with gently stewed shredded chicken stuffed into a barely sweet dough is a direct descendent of the famed Galician pies sold to pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela. Encarnación Gomez Betancourt taught me the recipe when I visited her in Camaguey on my way to the National Shrine Basilica of our Lady of Charity in El Cobre, so it was an unexpectedly appropriate choice.
Cooking Methodbaking, sauteeing
Total Timeunder 4 hours
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationpeanut free, soy free, tree nut free
Taste and Texturemeaty, savory
Type of Dishcasserole
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup whole milk at room temperature
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 whole bone-in, skinless chicken breast, split
- 1 cup diced tomatoes, canned or fresh, with their juice
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 dried bay leaf
- ½ pound red potatoes, peeled and cubed
- ½ cup green olives, pitted and sliced
To prepare the pastry, sift together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Create a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the milk and oil then stir to blend. Knead by hand to form a smooth dough, 3 to 5 minutes. Shape the dough into two round discs, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
To prepare the filling, process the onion and green peppers in a food processor to form a textured puree. Using a mortar and pestle, mash together the garlic cloves, salt, black pepper, and cumin to form a smooth paste.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a deep 10-inch skillet. Add the onion, green pepper, and garlic paste and sauté until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken breast, tomatoes, wine, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook partially covered until the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken breast, debone, shred, and return to the skillet. Stir in the potatoes and olives. Continue to simmer, covered, until the potatoes are cooked through, an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 425° F.
To fill the pastry, roll out the first disc on a lightly floured board to a 10-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Spread chicken filling on the rolled pastry, leaving ½-inch border. Brush the egg wash around the border. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Roll out the remaining dough and place on top of the filled pastry, pressing down along the border to seal. Brush the tops with beaten egg wash. Place in the preheated oven and bake until lightly golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool then slice and serve.
2014 Ana Sofia Peláez