Beef Empanadas

September 1, 2010

I love empanadas; baked or fried, chicken, beef, ham, cheese. I have eaten them in at least 8 or 9 counties throughout Latin America, each country uses their own fillings and seasonings. Their variations seem endless, but the one constant is that I have never had a bad empanada (except for those factory-made ones wrapped in plastic).

A few months ago I made Mini Empanadas, which came out great. I had said that next time I would add some chopped olives and vinegar. Today I made full-size empanadas using another of Chris Kimball’s recipe (from May 2010) that included both of these ingredients already.  Also it added cilantro, hard-boiled eggs and raisins, but didn’t include the Monterrey Jack cheese.  These are classic beef empanadas.

These Full-sized empanadas were good, but still needs more seasoning.

The recipe is here.

The result was good, but overall, I can only give it 4-stars. Flavors were more complex than their mini version (which got 4-1/2 stars). Still these flavors should be increased some. But the biggest problem was not the recipe, but my own empanada making skills. When raw, the dough was delicious with so much butter. But when cooked, the dough was dry, because I have not mastered the ability to close the empanadas with a relatively narrow seem. The first bite was just dry crust. I may switch back to the mini-empanadas because there is no risk of a mouthful of dough.


  1. I didn’t have masa harina for the dough, so used pure flour. This probably affected the flavor, but not the texture. I will try to buy it for next time.
  2. Still it lacked intensity. I’d recommend switching to beef broth, doubling the cumin to 2 teaspoons, increasing the olives and vinegar.
  3. I still have trouble with the edges not sticking together properly. My seems are too wide, and detract from the first bite being full of flavor.

Recipe Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $6.00 for 12 pastries.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 4:30pm. Dinner time at 7:30pm.

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