Beef Dishes/ Mexican Recipes

Flaky Mexican Empanadas

Since I had some dough left over from my previous post Dutch Apple Pie, I decided to make some Mexican Empanadas. These empanadas are flaky, tender and full of flavor- you can use them as a main course, an accompaniment at breakfast time, or for a snack  when you open the fridge bleary-eyed at 1:00 am looking for something to eat.

‘Empanada’ comes from the Spanish word empanar which means ‘coated in bread’, but I think of them as being like a ‘turnover.’ Originating in Spain, empanadas are now served in many countries, including Argentina, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. Even Australia  has its own version of an empanada with its meat and vegetable-filled pasty. Imagine my embarrassment when I first came to Australia in 1979 and asked for a pastie- I was quickly told that the correct pronunciation is pah-stie!

I’m calling my recipe a ‘Mexican empanada’ because I’ve used ingredients such as Mexican pork (or beef) chorizo, jalapeño peppers, cumin and Mexican chili powder. Mexican pork chorizo is different than Spanish chorizo since it is sold raw in a casing and must be cooked before eating.

Mexican Pork Chorizo

The Process

To assemble the empanada, first roll-out 50 grams (3 tbsps) of dough into a small circle, then place several tablespoons of the meat filling in the middle of the circle.

Next, fold the dough in half, neaten-up the raw edges using a knife and then press the raw edges together firmly. Crimp the ends of the dough either using the tines of a fork or ‘fluting’ the ends like a pie crust.

Or, maybe you are brave enough to try the repulgue technique, which is so pretty:

Finally, brush each empanada with an egg wash and bake at 420 F (215 C) until golden in color. And please let me know how your empanadas turn out- I am dying to know!

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog- you give me inspiration to keep on going to explore the fascinating world of food!

Flaky Mexican Empanadas
Yields 12
A flaky and flavorful Mexican 'turnover'- also known as an Empanada
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For the filling
  1. 1-2 tbsps oil
  2. 1 lb lean beef
  3. ¼ lb Mexican pork (or beef) chorizo
  4. ½ onion, diced
  5. 2 garlic cloves
  6. ½ red bell pepper, chopped
  7. jalapeño or red chili pepper, diced
  8. 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Splash of cumin
  11. Splash of Mexican chili powder
For the dough
  1. 2 1/2 cups (300 g) white flour
  2. 11 tbsps (150 g) cold butter, cubed
  3. 1 1/2 eggs
  4. 2 - 3 tbsp. cold water
For the egg wash
  1. 1 egg combined with splash of water
To prepare the empanada filling
  1. Over medium-high heat, cook the chopped onion, garlic, red bell pepper and jalapeno pepper in oil until the veggies turn soft and translucent (2-3 minutes). Add the lean beef and Mexican pork (or beef) chorizo and fry until brown. The chorizo is rather fatty so the mixture will turn rather liquid and ‘bubbly.’ Add the can of diced tomatoes and season with salt, cumin and Mexican chili powder- adjust the seasoning to suit your taste. Let cool completely before adding the filling to the prepared dough.
To prepare the dough
  1. Place flour in large bowl. Add cold butter cubes and rub mixture with palms and finger tips until mixture resembles fine sand. Alternatively, place flour and butter in food processor bowl and pulse until mixture resembles texture of fine sand.
  2. Add 1 1/2 eggs and stir until mixture starts to form a ball. If required, add 2-3 tbsps. of ice cold water and mix until dough hangs together in firm ball shape.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times until it forms a firm ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least 15 minutes.
To assemble the empanadas
  1. Remove dough from fridge and divide into balls weighing about 50 grams (3 tbsps) each. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out each ball into a circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Add 2-3 tbsps of the filling into the center of each dough circle, fold the dough in half then press the bottom edges of the dough together with your fingers. Crimp the bottom edges together using the tines of a fork or fluting the edges as you would do in making a pie.
  2. Brush each empanada with the egg wash and bake at 420 F (215 C) for 20 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown. Serve warm with a little tomato sauce or salsa on the side.
  1. If you can't find Mexican pork (or beef) chorizo in your supermarket, substitute regular pork (or beef) and increase the amount of cumin and Mexican chili powder seasoning in the recipe.
G'day Soufflé

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  • Reply
    John/Kitchen Riffs
    November 7, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    There are so many different form of stuffed doughy things out there! It seems almost every cuisine has something in this category. Great looking empanadas — always enjoy having these. Thanks!
    John/Kitchen Riffs recently posted…The Pink Gin CocktailMy Profile

  • Reply
    Joanne T Ferguson
    November 7, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    I love empanadas Fran! These look and sound delicious! I was curious where you obtained the mexican chorizo from? Thank you and YUM!

    • Reply
      November 7, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      Hi Joanne, I bought my Mexican chorizo from my local supermarket in Chula Vista, California. (I’m here until February). Supermarkets here carry loads of Hispanic food products. I’ve never seen it for sale in Australia but maybe you could get it at Chile Mojo on Magill Road in Adelaide. Hugs!
      Fran recently posted…Flaky Mexican EmpanadasMy Profile

  • Reply
    Kim | Low Carb Maven
    November 11, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Oh, my-my-my. These look perfect. I love a good empanada. Thank goodness for the extra dough from the pie!
    Kim | Low Carb Maven recently posted…Comment on Keto Blueberry Muffins (Coconut Flour) by KimMy Profile

  • Reply
    Karen (Back Road Journal)
    November 19, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    I just pinned your empanadas, they sound great using the chorizo.
    Karen (Back Road Journal) recently posted…The Wald And Schlosshotel FriedrichsruheMy Profile

  • Reply
    November 20, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Karen, thanks so much for your comment and for ‘pinning’ my recipe.
    Fran recently posted…Cranberry Nut Bread with Crunchy ToppingMy Profile

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