These savory empanada recipes are just delicious and a hit at any gathering. They are stuffed bread pastries. You can make them savory and sweet or meaty and hearty or a combination of both. They are generally baked or fried. The filling possibilities are endless. One of the most underrated yet great Mexican contributions to good tasting food.
The empanada’s roots are in Portugal and Spain. Empanada comes from the Spanish and Portuguese verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. They are however popular in most areas of World, even if they are not known by the same name. Italians have the calzone. In the U.S., we now call them “hot pockets”.
- 3/4 lb of ground beef or 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup yellow raisins, chopped (optional)
- 1 red fresh serrano chile, finely chopped
- 1 fresh jalapeño chiles, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbls tomato paste
- 1/4 cup of water
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 Recipe empanada dough (see below) or 1 lb prepared pie crust dough
- If preparing your own dough for this empanada recipe, follow the directions below for Empanada Dough.
- In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, fry the meat (if using the pork tenderloin, cut it into 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes) and onions until the meat is browned. Add the garlic, raisins, chiles, cloves cinnamon, tomato paste, pineapple juice, water and lime juice. Simmer uncovered for another 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Remove whichever dough you are using from the refrigerator. Divide the dough into 8 equal size balls. Roll each ball out into a 6-inch round. Divide the filling equally between the dough rounds. Top each filling with a 1/2 teaspoon cheddar cheese. Make sure that you have not overfilled the empanada dough. That can cause them to come apart when frying. Brush the edges with a little water and fold the dough over to make half-moon shapes. Press the edges firmly together and crimp with a fork.
- At this point you can pop them in a 375° degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Or, you can deep fry a few at a time in oil at 350° for about 3 or 4 minutes. If you do not have a deep fryer, you can also heat about 4 or 5 inches of oil in a large pot to 350° and fry them a few at a time until golden brown. These empanadas are delicious topped with guacamole or surprisingly with an Asian sweet red chile sauce.