Cooking On A Budget: Shrimp Empanadas

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Shrimp Empanadas


The incentive for this dish came from this jar of hot Chili Peppers I have had in my cabinet for quite some time. Why I purchased them in the first place is long gone.
That led me to look for possible components and coming up with an idea of how to use them. I had purchased a bag of 21-25 count shrimp on sale for $9.99 and thought I would use the shrimp with the chili peppers in some form.
My brain went into overdrive and I immediately thought of empanadas. An empanada is a stuffed pastry that is either baked or fried. You will find them in Latin American, Western European, Southeast Asian or in Mexican cuisine.

Start out by making the dough.
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of cold butter - cut into chunks
  • 6 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 1 egg
In a food processor combine the flour and cold butter chunks. Pulse until the butter is pea size. Add in the egg and the softened cream cheese and pulse until blended. Do not over pulse. Remove mixture from the processor and place on plastic wrap. Fold the plastic wrap around the dough and form into a ball. Flatten to a round disc and put in the refrigerator to rest while you are making the filling mixture.


  • 17 shrimp (21/25 ct) - peeled, deveined (Save the shells for shrimp stock - place in a container and freeze for later use.) I ended up cutting each shrimp down in 3-4 pieces for easier filling.
  • 2 chili peppers - minced (use fresh or from a jar - not dried)*
  • 1/3 cup salsa or picante sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend (Plus some for extra topping if you desire.)
  • 2 tsp. garlic - minced
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying - or you can bake them - see directions below.
  1. To the raw shrimp add in the paprika, granulated garlic, onion powder and cumin along with a pinch of salt and 2 pinches of black pepper. Mix well and refrigerate and allow the flavors to "marinate" the shrimp for about 1/2 hour.
  2. Take out the rested, refrigerated dough and when it is softened somewhat, begin to roll the dough out on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness.
  3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a towel.
  4. Pull out the shrimp from the refrigerator.
  5. In a saute pan, heat up over medium low heat, 1 tbsp. oil. Add in the shrimp and saute until the shrimp are pink, and cooked about half  to three quarters done.  Remove from heat, place in a bowl and cool.
  6. Add in the salsa, minced chili peppers and cheese. Combine completely.
  7. Use a round cutter, or glass or a pirogi or empanada tool cut out 4 inch circles. Add filling to one side. Sprinkle with more of the cheese on the shrimp and close. Crimp with a fork or your fingers.
  8. Fry at 350 degrees in oil until golden brown, OR bake in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 35-45 minutes until golden brown.
Yield: 16
Spray the aluminum foil lined pans with a cooking spray.

*If you like spicy foods you can up the amount of red chili peppers.

Serve the finished product with either salsa or picante sauce and a dollop of sour cream perhaps.  Enjoy and manga!

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