Beef Empanada Filling

Beef Empanadas
Baked empanadas stuffed with the classic beef, olive, and raisin filling popular all over Latin America. Philip Wilkins / Getty Images
  • 50 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: For 18 empanadas (18 portions)
Ratings (8)

Empanadas can be appetizers, filling snacks or desserts, or a meal on the go, depending of what size you make them. Roll out your homemade empanada dough—or buy the circles of dough ready-made—and stuff them with this tasty, hearty filling to make empanadas that will be a favorite year-round and in a variety of roles.

Tip: Don’t limit your enjoyment of this beef dish to just empanadas; see suggestions for other uses at the end of the recipe.

Did You Know?

  • The word empanada translates roughly as em-bread-ed (that is, embedded in bread), which aptly describes the way in which a sweet or savory filling is encased in a floury crust.
  • The empanada is a food item that is enjoyed all over Latin America— and beyond, as versions of it exist on all continents.
  • Different areas of Mexico have their favorite empanadas:  in the north, they specialize in sweet ones, cooks in coastal areas of the country stuff them with seafood, and in Oaxaca they make them with the wide variety of moles for which the state is famous.
  • The mining city of Pachuca, Hidalgo, is famous for its pastes, meat and potato empanadas made in the style of English pasties which were brought to the area by the British when they came to develop the mineral extraction industry in the area in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

 

What You'll Need

  • 1 teaspoon bacon grease (pork lard or vegetable oil)
  • 1 large onion (peeled and coarsely chopped)
  • 5 garlic cloves (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 2 pounds/900 grams beef (ground)
  • 1 cup beef broth (homemade or from a jar/box)
  • 1/4 cup green olives (pitted and finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (soaked in warm water for 1 hour)
  • 2 small potatoes (diced into 1/2- inch cubes and boiled until soft)
  • 2 eggs (hardboiled, coarsely chopped)

How to Make It

Note: The olives and raisins add great flavor and texture to this dish, but don´t hesitate to omit either of them if you need to, as the filling will still be very good without one of these ingredients.

  1. Heat the bacon grease, lard, or oil in a medium-sized pan. Sautee the onions and garlic over medium heat for 1 minute.
  2. Add the ground beef; continue to cook and stir. When the beef has all browned, add the broth, olives, and raisins and bring to a simmer. Let cook, uncovered, until the liquid has almost all evaporated.
  1. Remove from heat and fold in the cooked potatoes and eggs.

Use your delicious Beef Empanada Filling for empanadas (follow instructions here for assembling and frying) or

  • Eat it with a fork, perhaps with a side of rice or mashed potatoes.
  • Fill a pot pie or shepherd´s pie with it.
  • Use as a topping for Mexican tostadas.
  • Enjoy it as a filling for enchiladas, tacos, tamales, or tortas.

Edited by Robin Grose