Skip to content

Beefy Empanadas with creamy lime dipping sauce

October 27, 2009


Beefy Empanadas with a chunk vegetable salad



Before I moved to LA in 2007 I wasn’t a huge fan of food with hot peppers in it. I had never eaten anything spicy that tasted good enough to make the long-lasting burning sensation in my mouth and on my lips worthwhile.

And then I started tasting different types of food in LA, first Mexican, then Korean, Indian and Thai. I realized that night that no matter what I did, if I was living in Los Angeles I was going to need to learn how to deal with spiciness, or I was going to miss out on a ton of really delicious food.

Over the past two years I’ve done it, and I can say now that I have really grown to love spicy food. I’m still not going to eat something that is called “inferno”, because I prefer not to punish my pores and my taste buds, but I’ve learned that chili peppers aren’t only about spice, they also have a ton of flavor. I’m slowly but surely learning the differences in flavor between peppers and learning how best to use them in the kitchen.

I’ve been experimenting with spice a lot, and I recently came up with this version of a sort of spicy beef empanada. I made them yesterday and fed them to my husband and brother-in-law. Good news, they both liked them, and it turns out they both have a sufficient immunity to iocane powder (a Princess Bride reference, for those of you who didn’t catch it).

Since we’ll be slow-cooking the beef, you’ll want to use chuck, foreshank, brisket, short plate,… (all of these are good choices for stewing or slow-cooking).

Here’s how to do it:


1.5 – 2 lbs of beef (see above for suggested cuts)


For the Dry Rub:


2 tsp oregano


1 1/2 tsp cumin


2 tsp salt Mix these ingredients together and
2 tsp black pepper rub the mixture into the meat.
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper Be sure to use some elbow grease!
1/4 tsp ancho pepper


1/2 tsp garlic powder


1/2 tsp onion powder




For the cooking liquid:

2 cans (24 oz) beef broth 1. Place these ingredients in the pot or crock pot
1 cup water you plan on using to slow-cook the beef.
6 cloves garlic, crushed 2. Add the already dry-rubbed beef to the liquids.
1 can tomato paste 3. If cooking on the stove top, heat on low for 8
1 large onion, quartered hours. (You can also cook it on medium for 5
1 average jalapeno hours, but be sure to check the liquid frequently
1 tsp cumin seeds and add water if it’s getting low). In the crock pot
4 whole bay leaves cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
note: you can leave the seeds in the jalapeño for a little extra spice.

To prepare the beef:

Mix together the ingredients of the dry rub and rub into the meat thoroughly (don’t be afraid to get slimy!).

Mix together the ingredients for the cooking liquid.

Place the cooking liquid in either a large pot or a crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours, checking occasionally to make sure that the beef isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pot.


For the empanada dough: (wait until about 1-1.5 hours before the meat will be done to start this– the quality will go down if it sits for too long)



3 cups all-purpose flour 1. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Use your
2 tsp salt hands or a stand mixer with the kneading attach-
1 tsp sugar ment to mix them together.
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 2. Add the shortening and mix until the dough
1/2 tsp garlic powder becomes clumpy, then add the water and eggs.
1/2 tsp onion powder 3. Knead the dough for 10 minutes
8 tsp shortening 4. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in the
1/4 cup water refrigerator for 30-40 minutes before rolling out.
2 whole eggs 5. Roll out on a floured cutting board to 1/8 inch



and cut into 5 inch circles (I used the top of a bowl).



When the meat is finished cooking it should be falling apart (when i took mine out of the crock pot with tongs big chunks of beef kept falling off and splashing back into the pot of hot water– be careful!!). Place the beef in a bowl, allowing it to fall apart, using a fork to help it along. Add about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid back into the meat and mix it together. Now it’s time for a taste test– give the beef a try! Is the flavor to your liking? Does it need more spice? Take this opportunity to add any seasonings you might want to before you stuff the dough. I added a bit of tomato paste and some salt and pepper. You could add any number of things: onions, tomatoes, peppers just to name a few– make it your own!!

To stuff the empanadas:

1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F.

2. Place 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture in the center of a 5″ circle of dough. Fold the dough over the meat mixture and match up the edges. Using your thumbs, begin sealing the dough to itself (you could use a bit of water to help stick it to itself if it’s being stubborn). Then take the tines of a fork and press them into the seam you’ve created. This will help to make sure that they don’t leak any juices while they’re cooking! Then repeat the process with the rest of your dough circles, and lay them all on a greased cookie sheet.

3. Beat 1 egg together with 1/2 cup of water to create an egg wash. Brush some of this mixture on the tops of the empanadas to give them a nice golden brown sheen while they bake.

4. Bake the empanadas for 20-30 minutes (pay attention, you don’t want to burn them!) until they are golden brown and steaming!

And finally,

For the dipping sauce:

1 cup sour cream


1 cup greek yogurt Whisk all ingredients together thoroughly.
1 tablespoon (T) lemon juice


1 T lime juice


1 T fresh or 1tsp dry cilantro


1 clove garlic, minced


1/8 tsp cayenne pepper


salt and pepper to taste




On the plate you can see I served it with a chunked vegetable salad with oil and vinegar, but you can choose your poison!


And please, if you have comments, questions or feedback, do not hesitate to let me know!



Beefy Empanadas



No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: