So Many Ways to Fill It

Beef & Raisin Empanada-Duo Dishes

Empanadas, empanadas, empanadas.  Just saying the word makes the mouth water, no?  The stuffed bread pastries have a long cultural history across the world, and you’ll find variations in the name and fillings in Latin, Asian and Caribbean countries everywhere.  They can be savory and spicy, sweet and flakey, baked or fried, square or crescent-shaped.  Although there are similarities in their basic construction, the differences between each one make them stand out as all their own.  After reading a NY Times article about Chilean style empanadas, it was clear that we had to give this version a try.

This recipe took a bit of time, mostly because the empanada dough was made from scratch. There are some markets that sell pre-made empanada dough that is really good and a time saver of course, but sometimes it’s worth the trouble to try the long way first. Once you have that first experience down, all shortcuts are welcome!  You may notice that we used our own recipe for the dough, although there are much simpler recipes.  You can jazz it up or dress it down however you choose.  We also left out the hard boiled egg, which arguably may be the main ingredient that makes a Chilean style empanada what it is.  We’d love to hear your feedback on the egg if you’ve tried it before.  This recipe makes a very large number of empanadas, which is perfect if you’re throwing a party or you have a lot of hungry friends. If that is not the case, feel free to half it.

Before we share the recipe, just a tiny reminder that today is the very last day to help us get a win for the Foodbuzz Blog Awards.   You nominated us as the ‘Blogger You’d Most Want to See Open Their Own Restaurant’, so let’s bring it home! You can put in a vote right here! We’re also shooting for the chance to do a live demonstration of our Menu Item for with the Bertolli Sauce team during the festival. Of course, you can put in another vote right here.

Mini Beef and Raisin Empanadas with Cilantro Lime Sauce – Approximately 4 dozen

1 pound ground beef
1/2 large red onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
1/2 cup raisins, finely chopped *
3/4 cup olives, finely chopped**
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 serrano peppers, deseeded and minced
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Grapeseed oil

4 cups flour, plus extra for rolling
12 tablespoons ice water
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup shortening
1 tablespoon milk
1 egg

1 cup crema Mexicana
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt

1. Start dough by whisking water and vinegar.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl, whisk flour, oregano, sugar and salt.  Add shortening and mix with fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture looks like small, coarse crumbs.

2.  Slowly drizzle in water and vinegar until moist and dough begins to come together.

3.  Place dough on a lightly floured surface and split into two pieces.  Roll into balls and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.  Wrap them both in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.

4.  Swirl a bit of grapeseed oil in a large pan and, when hot, add onions, green peppers, serrano peppers, and garlic.  Cook down until onions begin to go translucent, approximately 2-4 minutes.

5.  Add ground beef, raisins, olives, cinnamon and cumin.  Stir well and cook until meat browns, approximately 6-8 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in salt and cool completely.   (If you’re in a rush, spoon filling into a bowl, over and set in the fridge to speed cooling.)

6.  Once dough is ready, roll one ball out on a floured surface approximately 1/8” thick.  Cut circles using a 3 1/2” biscuit cutter or a drinking glass.  Set circles of dough on two very large baking sheet or several smaller sheets covered with parchment paper.  Repeat with second ball of dough.  Set aside.

7. Stir parsley into cooled beef filling.  Drop approximately 1- 1 1/2 teaspoons of filling in the middle of each round of dough.  Fold over one side of the circle and crimp edges with a fork.  Repeat with all of the dough and filling.  Slide sheets in the fridge for 5-10 minutes for dough to chill before baking.***

9.  Whisk egg yolk with milk and brush over the top of each empanada.  Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

10.  While empanadas bake, stir crema mexicana, garlic, cilantro and lime together in a small bowl.  Salt to taste.

*We used a mix of purple and golden raisins.

**We used a mix of black and pimento stuffed green olives.

***If you’re not cooking these for a big group, you can easily freeze the empanadas.  Whatever you don’t plan to bake immediately can be filled, crimped and frozen on the baking sheet.  (Without the egg wash of course.)  Once they’re frozen, put them in a zip baggie or plastic container and cook when needed.

Click HERE for the printable recipe.


36 thoughts on “So Many Ways to Fill It

  1. Love seeing the raisins in this recipe – it reminds me of Filipino-style empanadas (which also included finely diced potato). The last time I made empanadas – with an adobo filling – I was lazy-girl and used frozen pastry dough. I really need to try making the pastry from scratch. From the photo, your recipe would be a great start!

  2. My grandmother used to make a similar version back when mincemeat was really ‘meat’…I can only imagine how lovely the chili lime added a great flavor to this already edible good you presented here!

  3. I’ve never made empanadas, but love them.
    there is a place in DC called Julia’s empanadas: SO good, especially after a night of dancing 🙂

  4. Love me some empanadas! I’m curious about the egg addition too – it does seem to be a feature of the classic chilean empanada but I think I’d be inclined to leave it out too.

  5. Just voted for you, I forgot I belonged to foodbuzz-I’m way to busy to post there. I usually make my empanadas with shrimp, potatoes, and hard Spanish chorizo-I just love them. Good luck with the new restaurant, and if you need any help, I’ve helped many friends over the years open several restaurants in the Lou.

  6. I love empanadas! Yours look really beautiful.

    My sister-in-law is Colombian and she makes wonderful empanadas as well. She makes her dough from yucca root, which seems pretty unusual to me. She never makes them much anymore. I guess it’s because she has a 7-year-old daughter,, a 4-year-old son, and a two-year-old grandchild. That might take up a little of her time…

  7. I LOVE empanadas and tried them once before I learned to cook. I messed them up pretty badly, and have been afraid to try ever since! But now that I know how to cook, I may give them another go!

  8. Oh man, I’ve been thinking about making empanadas for a week now. My friend from Argentina just made a bunch Making the dough takes a bit of time but it’s well worth it! Delicious filling- these look addicting.

  9. I voted! Good luck!!!

    These look so great. I’ve been wanting to make empanandas after having delish ones in NY, but don’t know if I’m patient enough to make my own dough. Do you know where I could find the premade disks?

  10. I made delicious empanadas a while ago, but never posted them bc the picture wasn’t so enticing. I love the sauce you did with these.

  11. I just had an empanada for lunch. But it was leftovers from a restaurant take out from over the weekend. I need to make some from scratch again. Looks good. Then again when is an emapanada not good? ;-D

  12. Yum. I love empanadas. I have a friend who makes a killer vegetarian version. If you like these you would probably adore the cookbook I have at home right now. It’s basically dumpling recipes from all over the world so it’s filled with empanadas, ravioli, wontons, etc. So yummy.

    It looks like I am now also going to the festival as a guest of bertolli so I look forward to seeing you there. Hopefully your recipe will be one of the winners so I may sample it.

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