• Beef and Olive Empanadas

Beef and Olive Empanadas

Recently I had a photo shoot at The Brickhouse Cafe at San Francisco. Of course, all the dishes looked delicious, but their empanadas won my heart, and inspired me to cook my own version of this cool Latin American appetizer. So, I’m happy to present you my spin on the empanada.

Beef Empanadas

You can make your dough or use a store bought one. Personally, I prefer a homemade, because it’s much more elastic, and, of course, more delicious. This empanada dough recipe I found in Pies and Tarts cookbook (one of the most useful cookbooks on my shelves, by the way). The filling is 100% my creation; I’m sure you’ll like it as well. Oh, one more thing. Don’t forget about the dipping sauce for your empanadas. I love to serve them with cilantro chutney or cilantro aioli (homemade mayonnaise + chopped cilantro + lime juice). As you may notice I’m crazy about cilantro, it goes well with everything. Bon appetit!

Beef and Olive Empanadas

Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Yields: 12


  • all-purpose flour - 2 cups
  • salt - 1/2 teaspoon
  • cold unsalted butter - 1 stick
  • large egg - 1
  • cold water - 1/2 cup
  • extra virgin olive oil -1 tablespoons
  • small yellow onion - 1,finally chopped
  • medium jalapeno - 2, chopped
  • garlic - 1 clove
  • beef - 2/3 lb
  • kalamata olives - 8-10, roughly chopped
  • raisins - 1/4 cup
  • tomato paste - 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • chicken broth or water - 1/4 cup (optional)
  • salt - 1 teaspoon, or too taste
  • paprika - 1 teaspoon
  • ground cumin - 1 teaspoon
  • egg - 1, lightly mixed with fork (for an egg wash)


  1. For the empanada dough: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment, combine the flour, salt, and butter. Pulse for 15 -20 seconds, or mixture resembles coarse meal with some butter lumps..
  2. With the food processor off, add the egg and 2 tablespoons of water. Pulse for 5 seconds.
  3. The dough should hold together, add more water if needed.
  4. Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together.
  5. Knead for a minute or two on a floured board, until firm and smooth.
  6. Wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, or preferably overnight.
  7. Meanwhile, for the empanada filling: In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  8. Add the onion, jalapeño and garlic. Saute until the onion is soft, 4-5 minutes.
  9. Add the ground beef and the ground beef and cook until the beef is cooked completely.
  10. Then add the kalamata olives, raisins, tomato paste, and chicken broth if needed. Season with salt, paprika, and cumin. Mix well.
  11. Cook over mediu-low heat for another 15 minutes. The mixture should be moist but not dripping wet. Let the beef mixture cool.
  12. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick and cut it into 4 or 5-inch discs.
  13. Place 2 tablespoons of the filling in the center of each disk.
  14. Bruch the edges of each disc with a little bit of water, then fold them in half. Use a fork to press and seal the edges closed.
  15. You can refrigerate the uncooked empanadas for up to 3 hours, or freeze them.
  16. Heat oven to 400 F.
  17. Place the empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  18. Brush the empanadas with the egg wash.
  19. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  20. Serve immediately.

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