Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Monster Empanadas

A couple years ago my husband and I took a Mexican cooking class together. One of our favorite recipes was for pork empanadas. The original recipe they provided us was a little complex so we found ways to cut it down to our style of cooking: cheap and fast.

The first alteration was to eliminate the hand rolled dough and bring in the pre-made pie crust. Such a time saver! Though, we've had trouble getting the size of the dough circle and proportion of filling just right. Small circles resulted in torn dough & not enough filling. Medium sized circles resulted in not enough filling. Large circles resulted in too much dough. No matter what sized dough circles we use we always have a ton of leftover filling. It's been a frustrating trial and error process. That is, until tonight!

When we typically make empanadas we fold the dough circle in half, but this time we left them whole in attempt to make a heartier empanadas. Here are the ones we made Friday night:

As per usual, we had over half the filling left over. We've used the leftover filling to make tacos in the past but this time I was bound and determined to find a better way to make an empanada and that's when it came to me. Two words: Monster Empanada!

First, here's the recipe for the filling:

1 pound ground pork (or sausage or chicken or ground beef, whatever you want)
1 green pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
salt & pepper to taste
whatever seasonings you want, we used cilantro and typically add Cayenne Pepper when we want it spicy

Other suggestions for filling:
green chilies
banana peppers
hard boiled egg
fresh oregano or parsley
hot sauce

Brown meat & onions in a frying pan. When thoroughly cooked add remaining ingredients and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

The problem with using ready-made pie crust is that it doesn't re-roll very well. When you use a biscuit or cookie cutter to make the circle shapes there is a lot of leftover dough around the edges. You can try to knead the dough together and re-roll it, but it just doesn't work. I hate throwing out all that dough, so this time I decided to use it all!


I rolled out each of the two pie crusts and put half the filling inside. Brush water all around the edges (to help them stick together) and then close the empanada and pinch the edges shut with a fork. 

Beat an egg in a bowl and brush an egg wash over the top of the crusts. This will give the baked empanadas a golden brown & flaky crust. Like this:

Bake at 375 degrees for... um... until they look like the photo. (I forgot to pay attention to the time.)

Come back and leave me a comment if you try this recipe out yourself. I'd love to hear different variations on the filling!

Linked up @ Miz Helens Country Cottage


  1. These look so yummy (and easy, too)! But you could put just about anything in pie crust and I'd eat it :)

    Gwenny Penny

  2. Have to try this soon! I love Mexican food. Thinking I might try using an already roasted chicken from Costco. Thanks so much for sharing this - I found it at Somewhat Simple SYS

  3. These looks so good! We love Mexican food, but also love things that are fast and easy to make! Thanks for this recipe - I will be making this soon!

  4. Hi Tracy,
    Wow, this is a great Empanada. I really like the season combination for this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you next week!

  5. gonna put pie crusts on my grocery list. We have yet to try empanadas and this looks great especially since I can use whatever I got on hand. Thanks for sharing :)
    ps. will let you know how we did!

  6. I've been wanting to try this! Thanks for the step by step, I too find the handmade dough daunting which is why I hadn't tried before.