Authentic Empanadas

Empanadas are Spanish and South American turnovers filled with various ingredients depending on the country or region they come from. I made these with ground beef but you can easily substitute it with ground chicken and follow the same proportions and recipe directions. The empanada dough is very similar to a pie dough and the trick to getting it right is COLD butter. 

The empanadas come out perfectly flaky, crispy and with steaming air pockets - you have to try these to believe. This recipe calls for baking but you can deep fry them if you like. If you are in a hurry, you can easily substitute the dough with  biscuit dough readily available in a grocery store.They still taste great! 

Empanada

Making Authentic Empanadas - let's get started.


Make the empanada dough: Add flour, cold butter cubes and salt to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse a few times until the butter is pea sized. Add an egg and cold water to the food processor. Continue pulsing until a ball of dough forms. Remove the dough, shape into a flat disk, cover with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour to two hours.


Prepare the filling: While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling. Heat olive oil in a large skillet till it shimmers. On medium high heat, saute onions and jalapeno till the onions turn golden. Next add ground beef or chicken and brown the meat until no longer pink. Add in salt, chili powder, paprika and cumin powder. Stir in the tomato paste. Sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Add garlic and green onions and give it another minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Add in fresh cilantro.


Assemble the empanadas: Roll out the  dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut into circles about 5 inches in diameter using a ring cutter. Alternatively divide into 12 small balls of dough and roll into individual circles. Place filling (about ¼ cup) on each circle and fold in half, gently stretching the dough over the filling. Press to seal and crimp the edges with a fork. Brush the tops with egg wash.

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Bake: Bake in a 350 degrees oven for 25 to 28 minutes till golden brown and puffed. Place them on the rack for 5 minutes. 

 

Serve the empanadas immediately while they are still warm. I love serving mine with salsa, chipotle cream or the green sauce.  

Ingredients

Dough

  • All purpose flour - 3 cups

  • Unsalted COLD butter - 1/2 cup, cubed and chilled

  • Egg - 1, large

  • Cold water - 3/4 cup 

  • Salt - 1/2 teaspoon

Filling

  • Ground beef or chicken - 12 ounces   

  • Olive oil - 2 tablespoons

  • Garlic - 5 cloves, minced 

  • Ground cumin - 1 teaspoon

  • Paprika - 1 teaspoon

  • Onions - 1 medium, diced

  • Jalapeno - 1, deseeded and minced

  • Tomato paste - 1 teaspoon

  • Salt - 1/2 teaspoon or as needed

  • Chilli powder - 1 teaspoon (adjust based on your  preference)

  • Cilantro leaves- 1 tablespoon, chopped

  • Egg wash - 1 egg mixed with water

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Preparation

  1. Prepare the dough: Add the flour, cubed butter and salt to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse a few times until the butter is pea sized. Add an egg and cold water to the food processor. Continue pulsing until a ball of dough forms. Remove the dough, shape into a flat disk, cover with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour to two hours.

  2. Prepare the filling:  While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling. Heat olive oil in a large skillet till it shimmers. On medium high heat, saute onions and jalapeno till the onions turn golden.

  3. Next add ground beef or chicken and brown the meat until no longer pink. Add in salt, chili powder, paprika and cumin powder. Stir in the tomato paste. Sauté for an additional 2 minutes.

  4. Add garlic and green onions and give it another minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Add in fresh cilantro and mix together.

  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. 

  6. Assemble the empanadas: Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and use one of the following two methods to shape them. ​                    Method 1: Roll out the  dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut into circles about 5 inches in diameter using a ring cutter.​                                                    Method 2: Divide the chilled dough into 12 small balls of dough and then roll them out into individual circles.

  7. Place filling (about ¼ cup) on each circle and fold in half, gently stretching the dough over the filling. Press to seal and crimp the edges with a fork.

  8. Place on silicone mats and brush the tops with egg wash.

  9. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until the empanadas are puffed and a beautiful golden brown. 

  10. Take them out of the oven and let them rest for 5 minutes. 

  11. Serve them immediately while they are still warm. I like to serve mine with salsa, chipotle cream or the green sauce. 

  12. Enjoy!

Substitutions and Additions:

  • You can substitute the dough with Pillsbury biscuit dough available in the super market. Simply separate the dough into 8 biscuits. Press or roll each to form 6-inch round and continue with the recipe directions.

  • You can replace the protein in the recipe with anything available on hand. Use ground chicken, beef or fish or alternatively replace with tofu for a vegetarian version of the empanada. 

  • You can add peas and boiled potatoes to this recipe - add them when you make the filling just after adding the tomato paste.  ​

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Products used in this recipe

All Purpose Flour

Paprika

Silicone Baking Mat

Did you try making this dish? I'd LOVE to see it! 

Snap a picture and hashtag #tessiefoodculture or tag me @tessiefoodculture on Instagram or facebook!

 

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