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Puerto Rico’s Beef Empanadillas

A savory meat pie seasoned with Sazon and Adobo.  A classic Puerto Rican dish made simple with the use of puff pastry dough.

Indulge yourself with Puerto Rico's version of the ubiquitous meat pie!

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.  There is also the Middle Eastern meat pie known as the Fatayer, a beef pie wrapped in dough.

Indulge yourself with Puerto Rico's version of the ubiquitous meat pie!

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’!

Indulge yourself with Puerto Rico's version of the ubiquitous meat pie!
Indulge yourself with Puerto Rico's version of the ubiquitous meat pie!
Indulge yourself with Puerto Rico's version of the ubiquitous meat pie!
Indulge yourself with Puerto Rico's version of the ubiquitous meat pie!
Indulge yourself with Puerto Rico's version of the ubiquitous meat pie!
Indulge yourself with Puerto Rico's version of the ubiquitous meat pie!

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!!

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Indulge yourself with Puerto Rico's version of the ubiquitous meat pie!

Puerto Rico's Beef Empanadillas

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

An easy version of the classic Puerto Rican Empanadilla.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Sautee ground beef in large skillet until no longer pink, drain fat and set aside in a bowl.
  2. In same pan sauté next 3 ingredients for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until soft but not browned.
  3. Add cooked ground beef, Sazon, Adobo, olives, water and tomato paste.
  4. Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes over low-medium heat to allow the flavors to develop.
  5. Add more water if necessary to keep from getting too dry, the goal is to have a dry filling for the pastry when done.
  6. Set aside.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 568Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 1022mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 4gSugar: 10gProtein: 27g

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