These past few days have been hectic around my house. Work, college finals, Easter holiday, spring cleaning, friends flying into town, you name it. I really haven’t had much time to cook full meals. It’s about making something fast and moving on. That couldn’t be more true than for this next recipe: Cuban picadillo empanadas. These meat filled pies are quick, easy and delicious.
The recipe for the meat filling is already posted on my blog, and the dough is store bought. My favorite brand to use for these empanadas is Goya brand. They are the largest Hispanic owned food company in the United States. They carry authentic latin food products.
Their dough is perfect for these hand pies. I don’t find them very often where I live, but when I do it’s an absolute treat. The package brings 10 discs, so I buy two and three packs at a time. They can be stored in the freezer for a long time, so that’s a bonus.
I will say that you can make these empanadas ahead and store them in the freezer for days. As long as you wrap them well, they will keep for a week or two. Perfect for a day at the park, beach, or when you’re on the run. They take only a few minutes to fry or you can bake them in the oven. They would also make a great addition to your Easter Sunday spread–just saying. 😉
These empanadas are flavorful and very filling. The cilantro mayo I made to go along with them cuts through the richness of the meat filling–it’s the perfect balance. Trust me you will eat more than one! Let’s eat.
Here is the recipe:
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 20 empanadas
- 2 packs of empanada dough discs, Goya brand (if not found use Pillsbury pie crust dough; cut into circles)
- 1 egg, for egg wash to seal the empanadas
- 1 Lb. of lean ground beef
- 3 Tbsp of canola oil
- ½ medium size yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ medium sized green bell pepper, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp tomato sauce
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black ground pepper
- ¼ tsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 Tbsp green olives
- Capers (optional)
- 6 cups of canola oil, for frying
Ingredients for Cilantro Mayo:
- A bunch of fresh cilantro, stems trimmed
- 1 whole lime, juiced
- 2 cups of mayonnaise (I used Kraft brand)
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Black ground pepper, to taste
Directions for the Cilantro Mayo:
- In a food processor or blender add the cilantro, lime juice, mayonnaise, Kosher salt, and black ground pepper. Blend until smooth.
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
Directions for the Empanadas:
Note: If you have a food processor feel free to use it for the onion, garlic and green pepper for a more even texture.
- In a large skillet over medium heat add the canola oil, diced onion, garlic, green bell pepper, and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the ground beef, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Stir to combine.
- Add the salt, black pepper, tomato sauce, olive oil, bay leaves, and olives.
- Turn the heat down to medium low and cover.
- Cook for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Turn the stove off and remove the skillet. Don’t forget to remove the bay leaves.
- Let the picadillo cool completely before assembling to fry.
- Place the rounds on a large baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper to avoid sticking, and for easy clean up.
- Use a teaspoon to fill the center of the discs. One to one and a half teaspoon of meat filling is enough. Do not overfill the discs.
- With a pastry brush, brush the outer rim of the dough disc, and fold over. Press the edges down with the tips of your fingers to ensure proper closure.
- Now, comes the tricky part: use your index finger from one hand (left) and press down the outermost edge of the already folded disc. Then with the index finger and thumb from your other hand (right), fold the dough that is directly in front of the (left) index finger, up and over. Do this motion all along the border. This will create a scalloped edge.
- Alternatively, simply use a fork to press down the edges of each empanada.
- Use a 5 Qt. size large pot (preferably a dark coated pot) and fill with the canola oil.
- Set the stovetop to medium heat. The temperature should be between 360°-380° F. Use a candy thermometer to check the temperature. If it goes above this temperature, your empanadas may burn. Lower the stove setting.
- Fry the empanadas until golden brown. They will cook fast, keep an eye on them to avoid burning.
- Place back onto the baking sheet to drain any excess oil.