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Football Fest Empanadas

Classic empanadas from South America are stuffed pastries of beef or chicken, usually fried. That doesn't mean "classic" never changes. Chicken goes well with black beans, corn and jalapenos in this baked version with a Southwestern spin. —Jane McMillan, Dania Beach, Florida
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Bake: 10 min./batch
  • Makes
    2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 jar (16 ounces) black bean and corn salsa
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, divided
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 package (9 ounces) ready-to-use Southwestern chicken strips, chopped
  • 2 packages (14.1 ounces each) refrigerated pie pastry
  • 4 ounces quesadilla cheese, shredded
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine the salsa, corn, jalapenos, 2 tablespoons cilantro and lime juice. In another bowl, combine the chicken, remaining cilantro and 1/2 cup salsa mixture; set aside. Reserve remaining salsa for serving.
  • Unroll a pastry sheet onto a lightly floured surface. Using a floured 4-in. round cookie cutter placed halfway on edge of pastry, cut 4x3-in. football shapes. Repeat with remaining dough, chilling and rerolling scraps as needed.
  • Transfer half of the cutouts to greased baking sheets. Place 1 tablespoon chicken mixture in the center of each; top each with 1-1/2 teaspoons cheese. Brush edges of pastry with egg. Top with remaining cutouts; press edges with a fork to seal. Cut slits in the tops to resemble football laces. Brush tops with egg.
  • Bake at 450° for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with reserved salsa mixture. Refrigerate leftovers.
    Freeze option: Freeze cooled pastries in a freezer container, separating layers with waxed paper. To use, reheat pastries on a greased baking sheet in a preheated 400° oven until crisp and heated through.
Editor's Note
Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.
Nutrition Facts
1 empanada with 1 tablespoon salsa: 197 calories, 11g fat (5g saturated fat), 27mg cholesterol, 291mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 1g fiber), 6g protein.
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