Empanadas 101

An empanada is a pastry turnover that can be filled with almost anything your heart desires!!  You can fill this yummy pastry dough with chicken, beef, cheese, sweet fruits and even Nutella!!!

Every tasty empanada starts with the dough.  You can buy the pastry discs already made from your frozen food section at most markets.   You will find there are 2 different types of dough mixtures – one is a simple flour based dough similar to that of a pie crust and the other is an orange colored dough which is made with yuca.   I would suggest, if you’ve never made empanadas, that you use the ready to use pastry rather than trying to make your own dough.  When shopping for your pastry discs please think about whether you want to fry your empanada or bake them in a conventional oven. The discs will specify whether they are used for baking or frying.  (I prefer to bake mine!).

Beef filling for empanadas:

11/2 lbs ground beef

1/2 cup finely diced red peppers

1/2 cup finely diced onion

3 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 cup chopped pitted green olives

1/2 tablespoon olive oil



In a large sauce pan add olive oil –  heat up and add onion, garlic and red pepper.  Cook until the onion is tender.  Add your ground beef and season with cumin, thyme, salt and pepper to taste.    Mix thoroughly with the beef, cover and cook.  Check about every 5 minutes and continue to stir around to assure the beef does not get clumpy. Cook for about 25 minutes.   Check the flavor – add salt if needed and keep mixing it well. Once the filling is done set it aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

(You need to prepare an assembly area for your empanadas)

2 egg whites well beaten

your pastry discs

(you will get about 15 small empanads)

1.  Take one disc at a time and center your filling on it

2.  Brush some egg white along the inside edges of the pastry disc ( this will seal your empanada – preventing the filling from coming out)

3.  Fold over your pastry and pinch edges with a fork (this will help seal it and give it character)

4.  Place your filled and sealed empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

5.  Brush your empanadas with the egg white to help the brown  beautifully!

6.  Bake in oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is a golden color

Chimicurri sauce

1 cup roughly chopped parsley

1 cup roughly chopped cilantro

2 garlic cloves

1 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine

salt and pepper

Throw all your ingredients together into a blender – leaving 1/2 of the olive oil to add as you blend – add it in slowly so that you do not liquefy the sauce (you want to have some texture).

Place your beautiful brown empanadas on a festive plate and spoon some Chimicurri sauce over the top.  Pour that glass of wine you so richly deserve and take a bite!!

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About Nancy

Nancy was born and raised in Chicago’s Southside. Growing up in a Mexican casa, she always remembers watching her Mom and Grandmother cooking in the kitchen as a child and watching the vapors rise from the stove and the array of colorful ingredients that went into the creations. Dishes like Mole, Chiles Rellenos, and Pozole. The flavor in these dishes were amazing. Now as an adult, the flavors and the aromas in these dishes are pure nostalgia for Nancy. Nancy is a self-taught, with 26 years of learning experience and 3 years professional. Nancy and her business partner, who own Las Dos Fridas catering in Andersonville, have catered for the Mayor’s Office for Special Events such as Viva Latino Music Fest and the M.A.D.D. Candlelight Ceremony. They also cater to fashion shows with local designers like Horacio Nieto Jr. Recently, Nancy has also dabbled in giving cooking classes and it’s something that she loves doing and will continue to do. She specializes in all kinds of cuisine but focuses on vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free cuisine. Nancy’s motto is to keep it as authentic as possible, but also making it healthier without compromising flavor.


One Response to “Empanadas 101”

  1. Damn. Soooo hungry! 🙂

    Posted by Vivian | April 6, 2012, 11:57 am

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