Friday, August 13, 2010

Chicken Empanada

I feel a little sheepish writing this post because I have a confession: I like this chicken filling better than the one I used for the taquitos I made a little while ago. I'm not saying that I dislike the taquito filling--because, in fact, I liked it a lot--but I liked this one just a little bit better. They're actually quite similar, I think this one just had  more flavor.

Another thing I should mention about this recipe is that I'm lazy. As in, I made one giant empanada (using one pie crust) instead of a dozen little empanadas (using two pie crusts). If you've got the time and desire, make a bunch of small ones. But if you're crunched for time or you just don't care, a big giant empanada will make you perfectly happy. At least, it made me happy.

Chicken Empanada
(adapted from Food Network)
Serves 4-6

3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 ounces green chilies
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2-3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 refrigerated pie crust for one big empanada, 2 refrigerated pie crusts for 12-15 little empanadas
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1) In a large bowl, combine the chicken and next 10 ingredients. Unroll 1 piecrust onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 15-inch circle.
2) To make one big empanada: Lightly brush the edge of crust with water. Place chicken mixture in the center of the round. Fold the dough over the filling, pressing the edges with a fork to seal.
3) To make a dozen little empanadas: Cut out rounds, using a 3-inch cookie cutter. Re-roll dough as needed. Repeat procedure with remaining pie crusts, 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 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 of time and frozen for up to 1 month.)
4) Arrange empanada(s) on a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with cheese, if desired. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Enjoy!

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