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Shrimp and Queso Fresco Empanadas with Charred Tomatillo Sauce

The origin of empanadas, a popular street food in Latin American, can be traced to Spain and Portugal where they were often filled with seafood. This empanada is filled with shrimp and creamy queso fresco offset by a tangy Mexican tomatillo salsa.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Latin
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 20
Author McCormick


  • 8 ounces tomatillos papery skin removed and rinsed well
  • 3 serrano chilies seeded
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces 1/2 package cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded queso fresco divided
  • 3 green onions sliced
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped and seeded fresno chilies divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp peeled, deveined and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Marcona almonds divided
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Gourmet Ancho Chile Pepper
  • 2 packages 14.1 ounces each refrigerated pie crusts (4 crusts)


  1. For the Charred Tomatillo Sauce, toss tomatillos, serrano chilies and garlic with oil. Place on foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 4 to 6 minutes or until tomatillos and chilies begin to char in spots.
  2. Cool slightly. Place tomatillos, chilies and garlic in blender container. Add cream cheese and 1/2 cup of the queso fresco; cover. Blend on medium speed until pureed. Add green onions, cilantro, 1 tablespoon of the fresno chilies and salt. Blend until smooth.
  3. For the Empanada Filling, mix 2/3 cup of the Charred Tomatillo Sauce with remaining 1/2 cup queso fresco in large bowl Add shrimp, 1/4 cup of the Marcona almonds, 1 tablespoon of the remaining fresno chilies, cumin and ancho chile pepper; mix until well blended.
  4. To assemble empanadas, unroll pie crusts on lightly floured surface. Using 4-inch round cutter, cut each into 5 rounds for a total of 20 rounds. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of filling onto half of each round. Moisten edge of each with water. Fold in half; press edge with a fork to seal. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Pierce top of each with fork to vent.
  5. Bake in preheated 400°F oven 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Mix remaining 1/4 cup Marcona almonds with remaining 1 tablespoon fresno chilies. Sprinkle over empanadas. Serve with Charred Tomatillo Sauce.