Empanadas recipe

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makes: 18
Skill: easy
Cost: cheap
Prep: 20 min
Cooking: 40 min
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  • Empanadas are small savoury pastries, baked or fried and are often served in little baskets. Empanadas are greatly loved in Brazil and are sold in bars and cafes or as a popular street food. They are also called “pastels”. They are ordered by the dozen or half dozen and are a great food for sharing with friends and family. The variety of fillings is endless but often includes beef or chicken. These empanadas feature a delicious pastry containing turmeric and chillis which gives it a lovely golden colour and spicy flavour. They can be served hot or cold and would make a great snack while you are watching the football.


    • For the pastry:
    • 400g plain flour
    • 175g butter or margarine
    • ½tsp turmeric
    • 1tsp chilli flakes
    • Cold water to mix
    • For the filling:
    • 1-2tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 225g minced beef
    • Pinch cinnamon
    • Pinch chilli flakes
    • Pinch paprika
    • 2tsp oregano
    • 6 green olives, chopped
    • 1tbsp tomato puree
    • Few drops hot pepper sauce
    • 100g Gouda or Cheddar cheese, cubed
    • 1 beaten egg for brushing


    • Sift the flour into a bowl. Cut the butter or margarine into pieces, add to the bowl and rub together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the turmeric and chilli flakes.

    • Add 2-3 tablespoons of water and mix together to form a firm dough, adding more water if necessary.

    • Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge whilst you make the filling.

    • Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6.

    • Have ready 2 large greased baking trays. Heat the oil in a large frying pan.

    • Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes until softened.

    • Add the minced beef and cook until lightly and evenly browned, then drain off any excess fat.

    • Stir in all the other ingredients except the cheese.

    • Fry over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, then leave to cool.

    • To assemble: Roll out the pastry on a floured board to a thickness of about 3mm. Cut out 18 circles measuring about 10cm.

    • Divide the filling between the rounds, leaving a gap around the edges. Place the cheese on top of the filling on each round.

    • Brush the edges of the pastry rounds with a little water.

    • Fold the pastry over to create semi circles and press the edges together firmly. Crimp the edges of the pastry with a fork or your fingers.

    • Brush the tops with beaten egg and bake for 20 – 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot or cold.

    Top tip for making Empanadas

    If you prefer you can make larger sized Empanadas to serve in a main meal with salad. You can vary the filling by adding different olives – pimento or almond stuffed olives are good. You could serve them with dips too – a chilli dipping sauce goes well. Empanadas can be frozen baked or unbaked and can also be deep fried if preferred.

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