When I told my husband I was working on a recipe for beef empanadas, his eyes lit up. He loves the little handheld meat pies, but hasn’t had any in a long time. And since he’s a total meat and potatoes kind of guy, he loved the idea of adding some potatoes into the mix too.
Shawn discovered empanadas in the most unlikely of places … a little family-run empanada stand in our local mall. But as the mall grew, the mom and pop places like that stand disappeared. So when it closed a few years ago, his empanada fix disappeared as well.
Me? I love any little handheld pie – from turnovers to the pasties of New Jersey.
Empanadas hail from Latin America, and vary in tradition. Some contain fillings bolstered with chopped eggs, olives, raisins and more. Others have peas, potatoes and carrots. Some have fish fillings.
These empanadas aren’t authentic, per se. They are stuffed with seasoned ground beef, diced potatoes and bits of chorizo, which adds a nice kick but doesn’t make them spicy.
In terms of cooking, these are fast and easy. Instead of a traditional homemade empanada dough, I used pre-made Pillsbury pie crust, which is a great substitute. And if you want to make it even simpler, save some leftover boiled potatoes when you make mashed potatoes, and dice them finely.
And one last change: instead of bigger pies, I made mini pies by using a large round cookie cutter to cut the dough. That makes them the perfect size for snacking or serving as an appetizer. Don't you love empanadas?