Empanadas – Meat Based

Empanadas are a classic Central and South American treat that can be a pastry or a meal. This recipe is for nonpastry (e.g., meat) based empanadas. The difference is how the dough is made. Making empanada dough is similar to making pie crust, in case that helps. This means it’s best if you make the dough a day before you intend to bake.

Making Empanada Dough – makes 12

  1. Ingredients
    • 2 1/4 cups flour (300g)
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt (12g)
    • 4 oz butter – sliced into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/3 cup water – ice cold
    • 1 TBL distilled white vinegar (12g)
  2. Process
    1. Mise en Place – gather and measure out your ingredients.
    2. Sift flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in butter.
      • Can use a food processor with several pulses to cut the the butter into the flour.
      • Can use a pastry cutter to cut the butter in.
      • Can use your fingertips to mix until dough resembles coarse meal. Don’t overwork and melt the butter.
    3. Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl.
    4. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just incorporated, (should look flakey).
    5. Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently with heel of your hand to bring dough together.
    6. Place dough on sheet of parchment paper and cover with film. Roll dough into a flat rectangle and chill at least 1 hour but overnight is better.
    7. Will cover how to cut and shape in next section.

You can do a lot of different things at this point. For example, a breakfast empanada might include a ham, cheese, egg, and green chili stuffing, a lunch empanada might have a turkey with avocado stuffing, etc. This recipe details a spicy beef stuffing.

Preparing Meat Stuffing

  1. Ingredients
    • 1 lb ground beef
    • 4 TBL butter – can substitute cooking oil
    • 1 white onion diced small
    • 4 cloves garlic – crushed and minced
    • 1 TBL oregano
    • 3 tsp ground cumin
    • 2 TBL chili powder
    • 2 TBL fresh cilantro
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  2. Process
    1. Heat butter in frying pan
    2. Add the diced onions and cook until translucent (4-5 mins).
    3. Add garlic and cook 1 min.
    4. Add the ground beef, stir and cook until the meat is fulling cooked.
    5. Add the oregano, cumin, red chili, and salt/pepper.
    6. Adjust seasonings to taste.
    7. Let filling cool down completely, then add cilantro.

Assembling Empanadas

  1. Cut dough into a series of 4 inch discs. Place film over top of disk and roll out to larger round.
  2. Place beef filling on the center of each empanada disc. Sometimes I add grated cheese or avocado.
  3. Fold the empanada discs and gently seal the edges with your fingers. You can use a fork to press down on the edges.
  4. If possible, refrigerate the empanadas for an hour to help seal better and prevent leaking when you cook. It’s actually best if you prepare them the day before and bake them right before serving.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 375 deg. F fan or 400F (200C) conventional for medium sized empanadas, or 350F fan for smaller empanadas.
  6. Place the empanadas on a parchment or silplat lined baking sheet.
  7. Whisked 1 egg with 1 tsp water.
  8. Brush empanadas with the egg wash to provide golden sheen once baked.
  9. Bake for ~20 minutes, or until golden on top.
  10. Serve alone or with a dipping sauce (e.g., avocado sauce).

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