Cuban Beef Empanadas

Last year while traveling in Spain, I had the absolute best empanadas. Since then I haven’t come across many places with great empanadas so, a few weeks back I decided to step out of my usual cuisine comfort zone and experiment with┬ámaking my own! I stuck to one type of filling and they couldn’t have been better. I also made two batches – one using the pillsbury store bought pie crusts as the dough and the other with a homemade whole wheat recipe I came across online. Rather than frying the empanadas I took the healthy route and baked them – there really can’t be much of a difference in the flavors so I recommend using the oven. Also keep in mind that this recipe takes additional time because the filling and dough have to refrigerate for at least two hours so I recommend prepping everything early in the day and then when dinner time rolls around, take everything out and simply assemble the empanadas. Next time around I will be sure to try out different fillings as well – enjoy!

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Ingredients – Filling:

  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 sweet peppers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg white

Ingredients – Dough:

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Directions:

  1. Start with preparing the dough so that it can sit in the fridge while you work on the beef filling. Basically just throw everything into a food processor and pulse until it forms into a dough and voila! Wrap it up in some plastic wrap and set in the fridge.
  2. Now for the filling… in a large food processor, add the onions, pepper, and garlic and process until finely chopped, about 15 one-second intervals, stopping to scrape down the sides of the processor
  3. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium saute pan. Add the vegetables from the processor and cook until softened, about 2 minutes
  4. Add the beef and cook, breaking it down until it is no longer pink
  5. Next add the tomato paste, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook for about 30 seconds. Lower the heat to low and stir continuously for the following 2 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool completely and transfer to a small bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  6. Set the oven to 400*F. Once the time has passed, roll out the dough and using a medium size round bowl (or tupperware lid), cut out circles and fill each bottom half of the disc with about 2 tablespoons of the filling – leave space around the rim so that you can mend it together
  7. Once all of the empanadas are filled, brush the inside of the rims with egg white, then fold the dough over to make a half-moon and press the edges together with your fingers. Use the form to crimp the edges as can be seen above in my picture. Set them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush the tops with egg
  8. Bake at 400* for about 20 minutes until the dough is golden brown. Enjoy!