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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Beef and Cheese Empanadas

Let me start by saying thank you to everyone that voted last week in the appetizer poll. It was really interesting and fun to see what everyone voted for. When I added empanadas to the poll, it was really just an afterthought. I didn’t think anyone would really vote for them. I was surprised that so many people did! I liked the idea of you guys chiming in on what you’d like me to make, and will most likely do some more polls in the future.

The empanada recipe below is not the one I was planning to make. Not even close. Don’t get me wrong, the ones I did end up making are pretty tasty and I shamelessly devoured 4 of them. Still, I was personally disappointed that my original recipe didn’t pan out.

I’ll save you the long drawn out story of all the things that went wrong… but let’s just say that Sunday morning after 3 trips to the grocery store, 4 hours in the kitchen, and failed empanadas stuck to the walls of the kitchen… I ended up sitting on my kitchen floor crying hysterically with flour, dough, cheese, and meat stuck all over me while my puppy was sitting in my lap trying to lick the tears from my cheeks, and my poor boyfriend just looked at me trying to figure out why I was having a complete nervous breakdown over empanadas.

Looking back at that scene now, it’s pretty amusing.

Monday night I came home from work armed with new ingredients, and an easier method to make what I am affectionately calling now “Fakepanadas”.

Beef and Cheese “Fakepanadas”

*Makes 30 empanadas

- 1.5 lbs ground beef
- ¾ cup beef broth
- 1.25 cups medium salsa
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon cumin
- ¾ teaspoon dried cilantro
- Salt and pepper
- Couple of pinches red pepper flake
- ¾ cup bean dip or refried beans
- 1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 12oz cans of biscuits, 10 biscuits in each can, butter or buttermilk – not flakey layers
- Cooking spray

1. Brown the ground beef in a large sauté pan over medium high heat until fully brown and no longer pink. Drain in a colander to remove grease and return to sauté pan. Over medium low heat add to the beef: salsa, beef broth, garlic, cumin, cilantro and red pepper flake. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a low simmer, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove lid and continue to simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Once mixture is cold, add cheese and bean dip and stir to combine.

3. I found it easiest to work with the biscuits while they were still cold so I only took out a few at a time. Spray your rolling pin and cutting board with a little Pam. Roll out each biscuit until dough is thin and approx 4” in diameter. To keep the circle shape, roll in a different direction each time.

The little yellow dots are "butter" from the biscuits

Rollin' them out
(PS - What is with that weird vein?)

Make a quarter turn and roll again

Ready to stuff!

4. Once your biscuit is flat, place a little over a tablespoon of meat mixture in the center. Fold dough over and shape into a half moon. You should have almost a half inch border.

5. Be sure to seal the edges completely by pressing tightly and crimping together. Finally press edges with a fork. You will lose the fork marks after cooking, but I found it helped seal them.

6. Bake at 400 degrees for 7-9 minutes or until tops start to brown slightly. Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving – the insides will be hot!

But wait! There's more....

Cilantro Sour Cream
* Makes 2 cups
(printable recipe)

This was the perfect accompaniment to the fakepanadas!

- 2 cups sour cream
- 1 – 1.5 tablespoons cilantro, fresh or paste*
- Salt and pepper to taste


1. In a bowl combine cilantro and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to sit in fridge for 15 minutes prior to serving.

Thoughts: The empanadas puff up a lot and make a light and fluffy outside. The meat mixture blended really well together and was perfectly moist from the bean dip and cheese. They have a little bit of heat, but aren’t overpowering and the sour cream mixture really pairs nicely. It was slightly disappointing to not have my original idea work, but these would certainly be a crowd pleaser!

*I’ve recently fallen in love with using the tube fresh herbs. They are the same prices as store bought, have three times as much, last much longer and still give you a bright, vibrant fresh herb flavor. A great alternative to buying fresh if you can, especially in the winter.


Simply Life said...

Yum! These look so good!

blackbookkitchendiaries said...

i love how pretty this look. thank you for sharing this. happy halloween!

Food, she thought. said...

Beautifully the step by step pics. You make it look so easy.

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