Coxinhas are chicken drumstick-shaped treats and favourite snack in Brazil. In this recipe, chicken and cheese are encased in a delicious dough which is covered in breadcrumbs then deep fried until they are golden brown and crispy. Equally delicious eaten hot or cold, they could be served as a snack as the Brazilians do or as part of a main meal with salad. This recipe uses chicken thigh meat which is juicy and full of flavour, but you could use chicken breast if you prefer. They take a little while to make but it’s well worth the effort.
- 6 chicken thighs
- 3tsp smokey paprika
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 100g cream cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the pastry:
- 600ml chicken stock
- 250g plain flour
- Pinch salt
- To coat:
- 50g plain flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 100g dry breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Fan 160°C/Gas Mark 4. Have ready a roasting tin and a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
Put the chicken thighs into the roasting tin and add the paprika, garlic, lime zest and juice and olive oil. Toss everything together so the chicken is evenly coated.
Cover the tin with foil and roast for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.
Remove the skin from the chicken then cut the meat into very small pieces and put into a bowl.
Allow to cool, then stir in the cream cheese, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge.
For the pastry: Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan then gradually whisk in the flour. Cook on a low heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture forms a firm dough.
Spoon the dough into a bowl, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for about an hour.
To shape the Coxinhas: Dust your hands with flour, take golf ball sized pieces of the dough and roll into a smooth ball. Flatten the dough in the palm of your hand – it should be about 5mm thick – then, using your thumbs, hollow out the centre.
Place a few teaspoons of the chicken filling into the hollow.
Close the dough around the filling then pinch and shape to make a chicken drumstick shape. Make sure there are no holes in the dough. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
To coat the Coxinhas: Have ready three bowls – put the flour in one, the eggs in another and breadcrumbs in the third bowl.
Coat each Coxinha in the flour, then dip in the egg and finally coat in breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess.
Place the Coxinhas on the baking tray and chill in the fridge until firm.
Heat the oil for deep frying to 160⁰C / 325⁰F.
Fry the Coxinhas in batches for 8-10 minutes until golden brown, lift out and drain.
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Different flavours can be added to the chicken filling - If you like hot spicy dishes try adding chilli flakes to the mixture. A handful of chopped parsley could be added to the breadcrumbs too.