Empanadas have always been a favorite of mine. Growing up we always had them at gatherings, parties and yes, even funerals! Lord!!! hahaha! I just love the crunchy outside and the moistness of whatever is inside. It’s like breaking into a treasure chest of flavor!
Where do empanadas originate from?
Empanadas have their origins in Galicia (Spain) and Portugal. They first appeared in Medieval Iberia during the time of the Moorish invasions.
Empanadas are made by folding dough around a stuffing. The stuffing can consist of a variety of meats, vegetables, or even fruits.
They’re known and loved throughout the Caribbean, Latin America and the Philippines. The name comes from the Spanish verb empanar, which means to wrap in bread.
Can I bake the empanadas instead of frying?
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lay the prepared empanadas on the parchment paper.
Prepare egg wash: Beat one egg and add one tbs water. Mix well.
With a pastry brush, brush the top of the empanadas with the egg wash.
Bake at 350º for about 30 minutes or until golden.
There is a very warm feeling that comes over me when I think of them and it’s not just because they are fried but because they have been a part of so many times in my life, both good and bad.
It’s a real comfort food.
This is why sharing this recipe is so special to me. It’s my own. It’s a piece of me.
Latin Beef Empanadas
- 1 lb ground beef 85% preferred
- 1 tbsp corn oil only if using 90% beef
- 2 tbsp lemon or lime juice both are just fine
- 1/4 cup chopped onions
- 1/2 cup chopped peppers any colors you prefer
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp Adobo recipe here or use store bought (dry adobo)
- 2 tbsp manzanilla olives chopped, salad olives ok too
- 2 tbsp tomato sauce
- 10 empanada discs
- corn oil enough for frying
Cooking the beef filling
- In a non-stick skillet cook the ground beef while breaking it apart. If using 90% beef, add a tablespoon of oil.
- Add lemon or lime juice, onions, peppers, garlic powder, adobo. Continue to cook the beef while stirring, until you see very little liquid.
- Add olives and tomato sauce. Stir well and cook until you see that there is almost no liquid. You'll see a very small amount of oil. That's ok.
- Set the beef aside in a bowl to cool down.
Defrosting the frozen empanada dough
- Defrost empanadas per package instructions. This is my preferred method: I cut one side of the bag and place in the microwave. Heating at 10 to 15 second intervals until the dough has warmed up enough to separate the discs.
- You can either make a full disc or cut the disc in half to create 2 small empanadas. These are great as appetizers.
Building the empanadas
- Have a small bowl filled with water ready to moisten the edges of the empanadas.
- Place an empanada disc on a cutting board, if using a full disc, place 2 tbs or so of the beef filling in the center.
- Moisten the edges of the empanada with water.
- Fold the empanada disc in half, press down and using a fork, seal all around the edges.
- If using half disc, follow the same steps but only use one tablespoon of beef filling.
Frying the empanadas
- In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
- Test the heat of the oil by dipping the tip of an empanada into it. If you see that there is a bubbling reaction, it is ready to start frying. It's better to have the heat lower so the empanadas cook slower rather than flash frying and burning.
- Fry both sides until golden. 3 to 4 minutes.
Baking the empanadas
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Lay the prepared empanadas on the parchment paper.
- Prepare egg wash: Beat one egg and add one tbs water. Mix well.
- With a pastry brush, brush the top of the empanadas with the egg wash.
- Bake at 350º for about 30 minutes or until golden.