Thursday, August 11, 2011

Beef Empanadas with Black Bean Dipping Sauce

Shhhh. I'm going to let you in on a little secret. And it's a good one.

Everybody assumes just looking at empanadas that they involve quite a bit of work. A little bit of time? Yes. A lot of work? No. Oh, and about that little bit of time? Most of it involves waiting for the puff pastry to thaw and the empanadas to bake. So you can be off doing whatever else strikes your fancy, and not running around the kitchen.

Another assumption about empanadas? They're hard to make. Once again, not true. If you are capable of cooking ground beef, cracking eggs, and cutting in a relatively straight line, you're hired. That's about as difficult as it gets. Brown ground beef, mix in spices, take off heat. Cut square into 4 smaller squares (I think we learned this one in kindergarten). Brush egg yolks around edges (yet another awesome kindergarten-acquired skill, painting!). Two scoops of beef mixture, fold into a triangle, and voilĂ . Trust me, it can be done.

That's the thing about assuming, it makes an as... well, you know how the rest goes.

Want to practice? Empanadas, not assuming.

This is a great starter recipe. A simple blend of spices provides a little bit of heat while the dipping sauce brings a creamy coolness. A yin and yang. Not to mention a little "wow" factor to those friends not in the know.

Beef Empanadas with Black Bean Dipping Sauce

Adapted from: Bon Appetit, June 2011

1 pound ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 (17.3 ounce) packages (3 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed
3 large egg yolks
1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup sour cream
1/2 (15.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 green onions, chopped, divided

Warm a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and garlic; cook for about 3 minutes, or just until beef is done, stirring often. Break meat into smaller pieces using a wooden spoon while cooking. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Reduce heat to medium, and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Allow mixture to cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Lay out the puff pasty on a clean work area. Cut each sheet into four equal 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" squares (12 square total). In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolks with a fork. Using a pastry brush, brush egg yolks around the edges of each square. Spoon equal amounts of filling into the center of each square. Fold edges over (forming a triangle) and press down to seal. Using the tines of a fork, crimp the edges together. Transfer empanadas to the prepared baking sheets. Brush the tops of each empanada with the egg yolks. Bake for 20 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and puffed.

Meanwhile, add beans and sour cream to a food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the tomatoes and half the green onions. Top with remaining green onions.

Makes: 12

These empanadas, by all means, should be simple and straight-forward to make. And they are, if you have all the ingredients. What a lovely little surprise when I pulled the beef out of the fridge and discovered it was a nice brown color instead of bright red with a "sell by" date for 5 days earlier. Gross. And into the trash. Since the puff pastry was already thawing, I set out for what would be grocery run #1.

After I came home and read the recipe further, I realized I also didn't have the tomato paste. Grr. I made the hubby do grocery run #2 on his way home. And then... I realized my cilantro had gone bad. After Adam had already been at the store. So, we just didn't have cilantro.

Lesson learned. Make sure your ingredients are fresh, and the recipe was actually on your weekly menu (ergo, all the ingredients already purchased) before starting a meal.

Then you can enjoy hassle-free easy-peasy empanada making. Which I highly recommend.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 184g
Amount per serving
Calories 593Calories from fat 284
% Daily Value
Total Fat 31.5g48%
Saturated Fat 9.9g49%
Cholesterol 95mg32%
Sodium 195mg8%
Total Carbs 52.5g17%
Fiber 6.7g27%
Sugars 1.5g
Protein 25.4g
Vitamin A 7%Vitamin C 3%
Calcium 9%Iron 29%


  1. I love empanadas. They are one of those things that I could never get tired of. I, however, have not had an empanada in a really long time. I think it is time to change that.

  2. I know how true that is - they really are so much easier to make than people think! Yours look delicious.

  3. I love making empanadas with Puff PAstry- so decadent! I cant wait to try your dipping sauce next time I make them. I normally go with a chimchurri or greek yogurt + cumin.

  4. Nice. Thanks for the recipe idea will have to try this sometime.

  5. Yummy! I love empanadas and the dipping sauce looks amazing.

  6. I just love empanadas. My MIL makes absolutely delicious ones.

  7. Bookmarked! And I have some rice krispies in the pantry for this week ;) You know what I'm making.

  8. Wow these look delicious and perfectly made, yummy!! :)

  9. This recipe looks awesome! I have been wanting to try empanadas for awhile.

  10. My husband calles me the empanada queen. Funny that I have not made a post yet. Looking at yours, makes me want for some. Great job and good idea with dipping sauce. Delicioso!

  11. I have definitely had days when as I moved through the recipe, I discovered there were more ingredients I didn't have! So frustrating. But your empanadas turned out so well and look delicious!

  12. I actually bookmarked this recipe and have been meaning to make it. They look awesome.

  13. I will have to make these. I really like empanadas but have put it off for some time now. :) Thanks for posting.

  14. Love the recipe sounds amazing:)



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