Tawm's Empanadas


"These empanadas have a kick! But they can be toned down with less peppers. My wife requests them all the time. Use ready made dough to really speed things up, or make your own, and impress your guests, and your family. They can be made ahead of time, frozen and baked right out of the freezer in 15 minutes."
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45 m servings
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  1. To make the dough-
  2. Cut the chilled lard into small pieces and mix into the flour with your fingers until it is lumpy and coarse. Don’t overwork it. Add the ice water a tablespoon at a time, while stirring it with a fork or spoon until it forms a ball. You will have to pick it up and form the ball, but you will still see the lard in it, a bit like streaked marble. It should be a little sticky, but not too. Put it in the fridge for an hour to chill and then remove and let it come to room temperature for one hour before you roll it. When you are ready to fill the empanadas, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch. Cut 4 inch circles with a cookie cutter, or whatever you have on hand. An old friend taught me the secret to puff pastry dough. It is this-2 parts flour to 1 part lard (butter has water in it and therefore will not be flakey like lard.) You can alter the amount of dough you need but keep this simple formula and you will have success. You can also use ready made dough to speed things up considerably.
  3. To make the filling-
  4. Boil water and pour over the ancho and let sit for 15 minutes while you prepare the rest. Do the same for the chipotles in a separate dish.
  5. Soak the raisins in the white wine until a bit plump, about the same time as the peppers need to reconstitute. Cut the tomatoes in half and grate them ( yes, GRATE them on your cheese grater) by pressing down hard right down to the skins. Discard the skins. Add the contents to a blender and add the ancho, chipotles, juice of 1 lime and ½ of the cumin. Blend until smooth. Brown the beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until well browned, about 15 minutes. Drain off the excess fat and add the onions, stir until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the diced Jalapeño, stir until fragrant and a bit soft, about 3 minutes. Add the glass with the raisins, including the wine and stir until the wine is evaporated and the raisins are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the pressed garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander,salt, the rest of the cumin, and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the contents from the blender to the meat in the skillet, bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, and up to 1 hour. Taste, and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Set aside and let cool to room temperature for best results. HINT- if you use chipotles in adobo, omit the tomatoes, and use a little low-sodium chicken broth to thin the sauce, if necessary.
  6. To fill them-
  7. Have a fork, a glass of water, and some excess flour handy. They are much easier to make if the filling is cooled to room temperature. Also, it is a lot faster to make an 'assembly line' while making them, and not make them one at a time. Dip your finger in water,


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