Besides gathering with family, one of my favorites things during the holiday season is the food. There’s nothing better than sampling all of your family’s amazing dishes. When I was growing up one of my family’s favorite recipes was Empanadillas aka Puerto Rican Beef Turnovers. Empanadillas are very similar to empanadas except the dough is thinner. Some people also like to add other ingredients to give the dough an orange color. They are typically made much larger than what you’ll find in this recipe, but I wanted to share a “mini” version that would make a perfect appetizer for your holiday gatherings. Although the traditional recipe calls for a beef filling, you can pretty much use any filling that you enjoy. So if you have an awesome meat, seafood or vegetarian filling you want to use-go for it!
2 cups all-purpose white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter (cold)
3/4 or a cup of cold water
For this recipe I used Bob’s Red Mill Organic All-Purpose Flour. This flour is great because is not enriched with any additives so it produces light, airy baked goods. The empandilla dough was very light and flaky which made this recipe even better.
2 lbs of ground beef
Adobo (or salt & pepper)- found in the Latino products aisle
1/4 cup of Sofrito- same as above
1 small envelope of Sazon- same as above
2 garlic cloves (peeled and chopped)
1/2 of an onion diced
1/2 green pepper diced
1/2 red pepper diced
1 small potato diced
1 cup of tomato sauce
Mix flour, salt, butter (slice up the stick of butter first) and egg with a food processor or mixer. Start adding water slowly until you get a nice stretchy dough consistency.
The dough shouldn’t be sticky, if it is, add more flour to the mix. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This step is not absolutely necessary, but it does make the dough easier to work with.
Season ground beef with Adobo to desired taste, add chopped garlic cloves and brown the meat in a skillet. You may also use salt and pepper instead of Adobo if you prefer. Once meat is cooked add Sofrito, Sazon, tomato sauce, onions, green peppers, red peppers and potatoes. Let it simmer until potatoes are tender.
Take your dough and roll it out with a rolling pin. Make sure to sprinkle flour on the surface, your rolling pin and hands to prevent the dough from sticking. Once your roll the dough out, use a cup or a round cookie cutter to cut circular shapes.
My favorite method for sealing empanadillas is to use a fork. Simply press on the edge with a fork on both sides and you’re done. You’ll want to fry each side of the empanadilla in hot oil. Simply remove when the empandilla gets a light golden color. You can also bake them, but I prefer to fry my empanadillas since it’s the authentic way to make them.
The dough will yield at least 2 1/2 dozen mini empanadillas. You can also make them larger if you prefer and serve them for lunch or with dinner. The filling will be more than sufficient and I actually wound up with some leftover meat that I used to add over my rice.
What are some of your favorite family recipes? Feel free to comment and share below!