Sunday, April 19, 2009


There are dozens of versions of empanadas out there, and really, the possibilities are endless as far as what you can put in them. Traditional fillings include picadillo, chicken, potatoes, spinach and even fruit, all depending on the region from which they come. My favorite is the cuban empanada, filled with picadillo. You can normally find the "discos", or empanada wrappers in the frozen section with other latin american foods.

These are also a great budget friendly meal, as the recipe uses many ingredients you probably already have around.

Cuban Empanadas

10 emapanada wrappers, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
Canola oil for frying
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of cumin
8 oz tomato sauce
1 Tbs ketchup
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped green olives with pimento

Brown ground beef with onions, peppers and garlic in a large saute pan. Drain. Add remaining ingredients (except oil and wrappers), and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until mixture has thickened. Remove bay leaf and allow to cool slightly.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a large heavy pot to 350ºF.

Lay one empanada wrapper on a plate or cutting board and place about 2 Tbs of picadillo in the center. Fold the empanada wrapper in half over the filling and press edges tightly closed with times of a fork, turn the empanada over and repeat pressing with fork on the other side. Repeat for remaining wrappers.

Carefully drop one or two empanadas in the hot oil and fry 2-3 minutes, turning once, until golden grown and crisp. Drain on paper towels.

Serve with hot sauce if desired.

Serves 5 (2 empanadas per person)

Note: You can probably do 15-20 empanadas with this amount of ground beef, and depending on appetites in your house you may want to go ahead and make the extras. Just keep in mind that they don't reheat all that well, they tend to get soggy. Leftover picadillo can also be served over rice the next day.

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