A savory meat pie seasoned with Sazon and Adobo. A classic Puerto Rican dish.
The famous meat pie has spanned several cultures around the world and Puerto Rico did not sit this one out. The Empanadilla stems from the Portuguese and Spanish verb, empanar, which means to wrap in bread.
The United Kingdom has a related meat pie called the Cornish Pasty, which has heritage protection in Cornwall. It was a portable lunch for Cornish miners to take under ground wrapped in cloth. Due to the toxic nature of their work in the tin mines and the inability to wash their hands before eating, the edge of dough was made extra thick to use as handles to discard once the rest of the pie was eaten. A life saving culinary invention! Nice…
This Puerto Rican version gets some spicy love from readily available spice mixes common to most grocery stores. Sazon and Adobo really awaken the taste buds in a delightful, Caribbean medley of Garlic, Cumin and Annato. The crescent dough of course is a short-cut but if you are up to making your own, go for it! You can easily use this pastry recipe here. This type of dough creates a very puffy, flaky pastry that is fun to eat, so give it a try. Spanish type olives round out the umami taste and livens up the color of the filling, so put your favorite caribbean tunes on and ’empezar a cocinar’!
I recommend serving this with Puerto Rican Rice, an easy everyday version made in a rice cooker. Oh yeah, Mr. Craftiness? He really likes both of these recipes, WIN!!
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 shallots, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 jalapeño, diced
- 1 Sazon, small packet (I use Cumin variety, found in ethnic aisle of most grocery stores)
- 1 cup chopped green olives with pimentos
- 1 cup of water
- 2 Tbs tomato paste
- Oil for frying (Sunflower, canola, corn)
- 2 cans of crescent dough, found in the refrigerated section
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sautee ground beef in large skillet until no longer pink, drain fat and set aside in a bowl.
- In same pan sauté next 3 ingredients for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until soft but not browned.
- Add cooked ground beef, Sazon, Adobo, olives, water and tomato paste.
- Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes over low-medium heat to allow the flavors to develop.
- Add more water if necessary to keep from getting too dry, the goal is to have a dry filling for the pastry when done.
- Set aside.
- On a floured surface place pastry dough and sprinkle flour on top, gently roll dough out to 1/8-1/4 inch thickness if not already.
- Cut in half for large Empanadillas or into 1/4ths for small Empanadillas.
- Scoop filling onto half the pastry and fold over the edges as shown in the pictures to make a half circle, pinch closed.
- Repeat with remaining pastry and filling.
- Add 1-2 inches of oil to large skillet, dutch oven or wok and heat to 325F or stick a chopstick in the pan, if bubbles form around a chopstick in two seconds it's ready.
- Fry pies for 1-2 minutes until medium brown (They cook really fast), turn pie over and cook one more minute.
- Drain on paper towels.