Empanada stars in all roles at dinner table

Robin McDaniel
Make this Chicken Empanada quick and easy with packaged pie crust.

Make this Chicken Empanada quick and easy with packaged pie crust.

The empanada can play a leading role, start the show or provide the sweet finale in your dinner table production. An empanada is the name of a stuffed bread or pastry. They can be large or small and are usually folded into a semi-circular shape.

The empanada can be stuffed with seafood, meats, cheese, vegetables or fruit. It can serve as an appetizer, as with today’s recipe, a main course or a sweet dessert. Depending on the filling and preference, the empanada can be baked or fried.

This weeks recipe is courtesy of Paula Deen and the Food Network. The packaged refrigerated pie crusts make easy to prepare. Prep time is about 40 minutes and bake time is 15 minutes. We found them to be delicious!

Chicken Empanadas

Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen

3 cups chopped, cooked chicken

1 (8 ounce) package shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 (15 oz.) package refrigerated pie crust

water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the chicken and the next 7 ingredients.

Unroll 1 pie crust 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 piecrust, making 12 to 15 circles total.

Arrange 1 round on a clean flat surface. Lightly brush the edges of crust with water. Place 1 heaping tsp. 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.

When ready to cook, arrange empanadas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

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