Empanadas are so good! My sister-in-law from Chile makes them all the time and it’s a family favorite. I have never made them before but finally did and was so glad! These Mini Beef and Cheese Empanadas are baked not fried! And the best part is you can prepare the different elements a few days ahead so it’s not much work at all.
This is a fun recipe to make. I always love making amazing food in the kitchen that my entire family enjoys!
The dough comes together quickly. But it needs to be refrigerated for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. So I highly recommend making it ahead of time. Cut as many circles as you can because they don’t recommend re-rolling the scraps (although you can if you want.)
At this point you can either bake it, store in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze them for later use!
Once these came out of the oven I was so excited to try it! It was so amazing! I can’t wait to make these again. These are a new favorite in my house!
One Year Ago: Thick & Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Two Years Ago: Penne al Forno
Three Years Ago: Banana Crumble Snack Cake
Mini Beef and Cheese Empanadas
3 3/4 cups (18 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and frozen for 10 minutes
1 1/4 cups ice water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch ground cloves
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 pound 85% lean ground beef
3/4 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon sugar
2/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese or Pepper Jack Cheese
1 large egg, beaten (for egg wash)
To make the dough: Add the flour, sugar and salt to your food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 16 pulses. Dump the contents of the food processor into a large bowl. Gradually add the ice water (about 1/4 cup at a time), and use a rubber spatula to work it into the dry ingredients. Continue until the dough comes together in a rough ball. You may need slightly less water or a little more. Turn the dough onto your work surface and divide it in half. Shape each half into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.
To make the filling: Add the oil to a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5-7 minutes. Add the tomato paste, garlic, oregano, cumin, cloves and cayenne pepper, and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the ground beef, using a wooden spoon to break it up. Brown the meat – this will take about 5 minutes. Add the beef broth and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue simmering until most of the liquid has cooked off, the meat should be moist but not wet, about 8 minutes. Turn off the heat under the pan and mix in the sugar then season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the filling to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until completely cool. Remove the bowl, stir in the cheese, then re-cover and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use (up to 3 days).
To assemble the empanadas: Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one disk of the dough at a time, place it on a lightly floured work surface and roll into a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut out as many circles of dough as you can. Transfer them to one of the prepared baking sheets. (It’s not recommended to re-roll the dough scraps but you certainly can.) Repeat with the second disk, placing those rounds on a second baking sheet. Depending on how quickly you worked, you may want to cover the sheets and refrigerate the dough briefly before continuing with assembly. If the dough is still cold, you can move on to the next step immediately.
Place 1 rounded teaspoon of the filling in the center of each round of dough. Dip your finger in a small bowl of water and moisten the edges of the dough. Fold the dough over into a half-moon shape so the edges meet. Press them together with your fingers to seal, then use a fork to crimp. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Continue until you’ve filled and sealed all of the empanadas.
Options for Cooking:
1. To bake immediately: Preheat oven to 425 F with racks in the upper and lower third. Brush the empanadas with the egg wash then bake for about 20 minutes (rotating the baking sheets halfway through), or until the empanadas are golden brown.
2. To store in the refrigerator: After assembly you can store in the empanadas in the refrigerator on the baking sheets. Just cover them tightly with plastic wrap, they’ll be fine for up to 3 days. The baking time and temperature will be the same as if you’d baking them immediately.
3. To freeze: Cover the baking sheets tightly with plastic wrap and freeze the empanadas completely. To save space, once they’re frozen, you can transfer the empanadas to a resealable plastic bag for storage. When you’re ready to bake, there’s no need to defrost. Just put them on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake at 425 F for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Allow the empanadas to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
Makes about 35-40 mini empanadas
(Slightly adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)