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Making Picadillo Empanadas from scratch

Ready to make the perfect savory pastry from scratch?  Follow this recipe to make  picadillo empanadas with minced filling.   The same pastry dough can be used with a chicken or vegie filling substitute.  Involve your kids, they will love making the little pockets!!

Makes: 12-14 empanadas


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1 Poblano chile, seeded and minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup minced onions
  • 1 cup fresh diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons minced chipotles in adobo
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup beef or chicken stock



Pour the olive oil into a 14-inch heavy cast-iron pan set over medium heat.

When aromatic, add the meat and sauté until browned, then add the onions, garlic, chiles and dry spices. Sauté until onions are glassy.

Pour in the tomatoes and stock and simmer the filling until liquids have evaporated.

Mix in the capers, raisins and almonds and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Season with salt, then add the lime juice as you pull the filling from the heat.

Let cool and set aside until you're ready to fill the dough.


The empanada dough


  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 1/2cups flour



Place flour in a large bowl and slowly add 1 3/4 cups cold water and the oil, stirring constantly with chopsticks until dough holds together.

Turn out on a floured surface and knead until smooth.

Place dough in a clean bowl, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.

Cut dough into 8 pieces.

Roll out into 1-inch thick ropes.

Cut into 2-inch long pieces.

Roll pieces out into 4-inch circles and cover with plastic.

Fill 4-inch pastry rounds (wrappers) one at a time. Place a few spoons of filling into each wrapper; fold to form a half circle, pleating the edges as you go.

Brush with egg wash.

Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes — or you can fry them.

Serve with hot sauce and limes.

© Adrian Danciu / Kinocut Pictures, LLC

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