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Food from the World: Empanada

All the roads take us back to food. It’s delicious, nurtures the body and the soul and it can truly comfort a broken heart. The connection between food and one’s mood has been proven in several occasions. The most popular instance is when a girl starts behaving irrationally without any reason and her boyfriend has no idea what to do. Many studies have proven that  when in hunger people tend to behave more irritated, sick and cranky.

No one wants to go through this. So a big chunk of empanada will  do great for your hungry stomach. Don’t you think? You might have heard of it or even tasted it. It definitely stuck to your mind and now you want to learn more about it. Then you’ve come to the right place!

What is an Empanada?

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An empanada is a type of stuffed bread or pastry goods specific to Spain, Portugal, Latin America, the Caribbean or the Philippines. This comes from the Spanish verb empanar, which means to wrap something in bread. The most popular fillings are the ones which contain beef, chicken, seafood, ham, cheese, fruit or vegetables.

The origin of the empanada is believed to be in Galicia (Northern Spain) and it was originally cooked using the bread dough that remained from  baking bread.  It it made folding a circular-shaped dough over a spoonful of stuffing, creating a semicircular shape.

Empanada in Brazil

The empanadas in Brazil are called empadas or empadinhas and can be bought at fast-food counters as an easy lunch option.In this part of South America, the most common fillings are beef, cheese, palmito (heart of palm), chicken and olives.

Empanada in Chile

The empanadas done in Chile use a dough made out of wheat flour and a filling that includes lots of onion. In addition to this, the two most popular varieties of empanadas are fried and baked in the oven. The filling varies between cheese, pino (chopped beef) and seafood. There are also versions of empanadas that can be served at dessert and which include sweet fillings like dried pears.

Empanada in Colombia

In Colombia the empanada recipe can also vary according to the region. Most often this includes salt, beef, rice, potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, peas or trout.

Chicken Empanada Recipe

3 cups chopped, cooked chicken
8 ounces shredded cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 chopped jalapeno
1 tablespoon ground cumin
salt, pepper
1 package refrigerated pie crusts

How to prepare it?

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1. Heat the oven at over 400 degrees F.

2. Combine the chicken with the cheese(es), jalapeno, red bell pepper, cumin and salt. While you let this combination rest, unroll the piecrust, roll it into 15-inch circles and then cut out rounds of approximately 3 inches.  You should get between 12 and 15 circles.

3. Start with the first circle and brush the edges with water. Put 1 teaspoon of mixture in the center and then fold the dough over the filling. You can press the edges with a fork, sealing (the deal) it. Do the same for the rest of the circles until you finish the mixture.

4. Put these empanadas on the baking sheet and place them in the oven. Let them bake for 15 minutes.

This is by far the best and most delicious food you will ever taste!  BELIEVE ME!

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