An empanada, which means “to wrap or coat in bread”, is basically meat and/or vegetables wrapped in pastry before being fried or baked, much like calzones, samosas and curry puffs.
I love making things with pastry.
The thing, though, is, my kitchen tends to get really hot, so unless I work REALLY fast, my pastries tend to lose their shapes because of the heat.
So today, I decided to work really fast, and I made some empanadas because I had some chicken I wanted to use up.
I really like pastries. I mean, what’s not to like? They are small and compact, making them very convenient to eat, and they are also fun and tasty.
I started by making the filling for the empanadas.
I seasoned the diced chicken with salt and pepper before cooking the chicken in olive oil until they turned opaque. The chicken would be cooked again later.
I added the rest of the ingredients and mixed everything until it was well-combined.
I floured a clean work surface and using my pastry/cookie cutter (you can use a glass, a bowl, whatever that’s handy), I cut rounds.
I placed a heaping tablespoon of the filling in the middle of each round.
Then I brushed the edges of each round with water.
The dough was folded over, and I pressed on the edges with a fork to seal.
The empanadas were placed on a lined baking tray and baked for about 15 minutes, or until they turned golden brown.
And that was it!
Easy, peasy mini hand-held pies.
I would never have thought of adding cream cheese to pies, but now that I realised how tasty it is, I shall be making pies with cream cheese a lot more often!
- 3 cups (About 2 half breasts) chopped, cooked chicken
- 1 (8-ounce/ 225g) package shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend
- 4 ounces (112.5g) cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper - I used one medium bell pepper
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped - I omitted this
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts - I used one pack (6 sheets) ready-rolled puff pastry
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the chicken and next 7 ingredients. 3. Unroll 1 pie-crust (or puff pastry) onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 15-inch circle.
- Cut out rounds, using a 3-inch cookie cutter.
- Re-roll dough as needed. Repeat procedure with remaining pie-crusts.
- Arrange 1 round on a clean, flat surface.
- Lightly brush the edges of crust with water.
- Place 1 heaping teaspoon of chicken mixture in the center of the round. Fold the dough over the filling, pressing the edges with a fork to seal.
- Repeat with the remaining rounds and chicken mixture. (Up to this point, the recipe can be made ahead and frozen for up to 1 month).
- Arrange empanadas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
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