Homemade Beef Empanadas are just good. As a bonus, this version is relatively easy to make. You know me; tedious work just isn’t my thing. Although the dough is also easy to make, it’s tedious to roll and cut each one. To speed things along, I used pre-cut empanada wrappers sold in our grocer’s freezer.
Alternatively, you could also opt for a pre-rolled pie crust sold in the refrigerated section or even canned biscuits pressed and rolled thin for a flakier empanada. This is the brand of Empanada wrappers my store carries. They are located in the international foods section of the freezer case. In my store, they are found just after the ice cream novelty bars and cones. Each package costs about $2.
These empanadas are savory and slightly spicy and were absolutely delicious and the really contributed to the overall feel of our Tapas menu. My daughter is still pretty sensitive to hot spices but she was still able to eat these. If you prefer the filling a little spicier, increase the amount of cayenne to taste. I like the hint of background heat that this dish brings to the party. It’s subtle and delicious.
I filled each wrapper with two tablespoons of the beef filling using a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop. Then I pick up the wrapper in my hands and fold it in half adjusting the meat mixture and wrapper between my cupped palms. Then I place it on the prepared cookie tray. I repeat this process with all 10 wrappers before moving to the next step.
Next, with my index finger and some water in a small bowl, I lightly wet the edge of 1/2 of the dough, then I fold the top of the dough over the bottom and pinch to close. Once I’ve finished all 10 wrappers, I then crimp the edges with a fork.
Next, I lightly coat the empanadas with an egg wash. This helps them brown and they get a little glossy from the egg. I do sometimes also use milk to help the crusts brown.
Once the empanadas are brushed with the egg wash, it’s into the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes.
While they bake, let’s talk about this handy tip. Occasionally, when you’re peeling the wrappers apart from the thawed packages of prepared rounds, you may accidentally tear one. All is not lost! Simply wet the edges with your finger and press the tear back together.
I then usually put the repaired side down on the tray to hide the flawed dough. No one will ever know the difference!
At 25-minutes, my empanadas are just starting to brown. I’ll add an additional 2-3 minutes for some additional browning time. Oven temperatures vary greatly, so be sure to check yours during the baking process and adjust your final baking time to your particular oven.
I didn’t really have a recipe to follow but rather started just with a simple sofrito (white onion, green pepper, and red pepper trinity), added some tomato sauce and some very basic spices until I had a flavorful filling my husband and I enjoyed. I cannot honestly say that these are a traditional Cuban Empanada but they do taste much like the ones I’ve gotten from cafes and street vendors around Miami.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ pound ground beef
- ½ medium yellow onion, diced fine
- ½ medium green pepper, diced fine
- ½ medium red pepper, diced fine
- ¼ cup tomato sauce
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 (10-pack) package empanada wrappers, thawed
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Prepare a baking tray with a silicone mat, parchment paper, or aluminum foil and set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned, breaking it us with a spoon or rubber spatula, about 10 minutes.
- Add onions and green peppers and cook until soft, about 5 minutes more.
- Stir in tomato sauce, cumin, cayenne, garlic, oregano, salt and black pepper. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until mixture thickens, about 15 minutes.
- Remove and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Spoon about 2 heaping tablespoons of meat mixture into the middle of the empanada wrapper, fold in half to form a half-moon; moisten the edges with water and pinch to seal or crimp edges with a fork.
- With a pastry brush, lightly brush egg wash over the top side of the empanada dough. This encourages browning.
- Place empanadas on a foil lined sheet pan sprayed lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Bake Empanadas until crisp and golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.
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