Friday, July 1, 2016

Meat (beef) Empanada. Stuffed, savory pastry.

It's been awhile since I made empanada. And it's actually really easy especially if you will be using ready-made, store-bought pie dough. Yes. The receptacle for the filling of an empanada is a pie crust recipe-anywhere you go, whatever part of the planet you live. Be it you're Filipino, Mexican, from the Caribbeans or South American. It only differs in the fat being used to make it flaky: butter or lard or both. I've heard some-duck fat?

The main ingredients most commonly used for the filling are meat (pork, beef, chicken, goat), potatoes, carrot, chayote/sayote. Additional ingredients and spices vary from country to country, region to region: garbanzos, green peas, raisins, cumin, coriander, etc.

This post is about the Filipino (Beef) Empanada. I think it is the most BASIC and simplest form of the empanada clan. Usually, pork is the popular meat used in the Philippines for this guys. But I used beef here though.

Nothing was wasted. I made the scraps into a ball, used a rolling pin to make more empanada dough out of it. 1 box of double pie crust makes 20 small empanada each filled with 1 T of the filling. No, it is bigger than a Chinese or Italian dumpling-if you're asking if it's that small. .

If you're using frozen green peas, thaw it first and drain the water off it. Drain canned, green peas too.

Makes 20 small empanada or for 2 people. Please double the recipe below if eating for more than 2. You can also make big empanadas and cut out 6" diameter dough instead of 4".


1 box store-bought double pie-crust
8 oz. beef sirloin steak, finely chopped or almost 2 cups lean ground beef
2 medium potatoes, peeled and small dice
1 large carrot, peeled and small dice
1/3 cup green peas
1/3 cup raisins
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Quarter of an onion, finely chopped
2 T soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
3 T neutral cooking oil


Preheat a medium-sized pan (non-stick or not) to at least 375° or until the oil is shimmering or almost smokey.

Add oil and garlic; saute until light brown. Throw in the potatoes and carrots; saute for 5 minutes then add the onion and beef. Saute until light brown.

Throw in the soy sauce and mix well to the meat and veggies

Add the green peas and raisins. Cook until barely soft-about 3-5 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste, half teaspoon each.

Remove from heat; drain if it has juices.

Cool completely before using it as filling.

How to fill the empanada dough:

You will need,

pinch or two of flour OR parchment paper
rolling pin
clean paper OR coffee filter


Have a clean and dry work table ready. Otherwise, just pull out a large piece of parchment paper and work on it; either way works. Your work table still needs to be clean and dry.

Lightly flour and I mean very light sprinkling of flour your work table (if not using parchment paper).

Using the rolling pin, spread and flatten the pie dough on the floured or parchment-laden work table. Don't make it too thin; but you just don't want a too thick dough for your empanada.

Cut out several, round, 4" diameter of pie dough until only scraps remain. Separate each round dough with small pieces of parchment paper or coffee filter; small pieces of clean paper.

When all you have are scraps, form it into a ball, flatten and make more 4" round dough out of it. Repeat until you are able to make 20 pieces (more or less).

Take one round dough and place in front of you. Using a 1 tablespoon, dump filling in the center of the dough. Take the left side of the dough, lift and fold towards the right side until both edges are aligned. Make sure there is a half inch (or less) of dough that are filling-free because it serves to seal your empanada. Seal edges by pressing the point and tines of your fork on the dough. Seat aside on a cool dry place. Repeat procedure until all your small, round dough are filled. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Note: if you decide to bake your empanada, and you wanted your empanada with a sheen, crack an egg and beat with 1 T of milk. Set aside to brush both sides of the empanadas after taking it out of the refrigerator.

If deep-frying your empanada is your choice, there's no need for an egg wash glaze.

To bake:

Preheat oven to 350°

Lightly brush/apply a cookie sheet with cooking oil or use parchment paper. Or use cooking spray.

When all the empanada has been brushed with egg wash, place all or some on the cookie/baking sheet-depending upon size of your pan; 2" apart.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or when it is light brown and shiny. Your kitchen should also smell like beef pot pie when it's ready to take out of the oven.

To deep-fry:

Preheat 2 inches of cooking oil using a large pot. When it is almost smoky or shimmering, CAREFULLY place 3 to 4 empanada. It is going to be quick-less than a minute and you are done with your first batch of fried empanada. Place on a paper-towel lined plate or colander. Repeat until all empanada are deep-fried.

You can either eat this by itself or smothered with banana ketchup (tomato ketchup is fine!). In both cases (baked or deep-fried), let it cool for 5-10 minutes before eating. Duh!

Whew! Freaking hard to write a recipe this detailed!#$%^&* Have a good 4-day weekend!

Happy Independence Day, America!