Chicken Empanadas

After watching Paula Deen on Who Do You Think You Are?, I became enchanted with her and wished she was my grandmother (although, she is only my mother’s age!).  I’ve never seen her cooking show.  I looked up some of her recipes and decided to try these empanadas.  In all honesty, they were a lot of work and just “pretty good.”  I wish I had thought to add cilantro to the chicken mix because I think I would have enjoyed that.  I also substituted green onion for the jalapeno because I’m not a hot-spice loving girl.  In addition, I baked them (400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes) rather than fry them.  There ended up being way more chicken mix than dough discs.  Would I make them again?  Mm, probably not, but I did enjoy trying them.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chopped, cooked chicken, about 4 to 5 chicken breasts
  • 1 (8-ounce) package shredded colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper (I had a yellow one on hand)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts
  • Water

Directions

Preheat vegetable oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl using a rubber spatula, combine the chicken, colby and Monterey cheese, cream cheese, red pepper, jalapeno, cumin, salt, and pepper. Remove 1 pie crust from pie tin onto a lightly floured surface and 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, making 12 to 15 circles total. Arrange 1 round on a clean, flat surface. Using a pastry brush, 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. Place empanadas in deep-fryer for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Top with con queso dip.

Note: Up to this point, the recipe can be made ahead and frozen for up to 1 month

  • Chili Con Queso Dip
  • 1 pound package Cheddar (recommended: Velveeta)
  • 1 (16-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce

In a medium sauce pot, slowly melt Cheddar over medium/low heat. When cheese is fully melted add tomatoes, chiles, and hot sauce, stirring with spoon until combined well.

Pour cheese dip into a small casserole dish and serve as a dip for the cheesy empanadas or pour on top for a real cheesy effect.

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