These beef empanadas take me back to my childhood when I lived in Latin America, which is where I was introduced to these delicious filled turnovers. Empanadas are pastries that can be filled with meat, vegetables, cheese or even fruit. They are popular in Spain, Portugal and Latin America. I love filled pastries and dumplings of any kind: samosas, pierogis, empanadas, wontons…. This empanada recipe calls for ground beef. I sometimes make the filling a day ahead, to save time. I have also frozen (unbaked) beef empanadas and baked them directly from the freezer, with great results. On a busy weeknight, these beef empanadas and a side salad make for a satisfying meal. The original recipe for these beef empanadas use a home-made empanada dough. I always have the best intentions of making the dough from scratch, but just never seem to get around to it! Store-bought pie crust works just great for the pastry. Feel free to use your own homemade pie crust recipe but do give these empanadas a try.
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup diced onion
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 2 Tbsp raisins
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 4 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley
- 2 Tbsp chopped green olives
- 2/3 cup canned diced tomatoes drained
- 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and chopped (or to taste)
- 1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese or Mexican cheese blend
- 4 refrigerated pie crusts
- 1 large egg beaten
- Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet and saute onions over medium heat until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add bell pepper and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and beef and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until beef is browned.
- Add raisins, paprika, cumin, and salt, and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add tomato paste, parsley, olives, diced tomatoes and jalapenos and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Allow filling to cool.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Unroll 1 pie crust onto a lightly floured surface.
- Roll into a 15-inch circle.
- Cut into 4-inch circles.
- Brush circle lightly with beaten egg.
- Place a rounded tablespoon of meat mixture in the center of circle.
- Fold circle in half and seal edges with a fork.
- Place empanada on a baking sheet and brush top with beaten egg.
- Repeat procedure with remaining circles (about 24 to 30 circles), re-rolling dough scraps as needed.
- Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.