Stick-to-Your-Ribs Beef Empanadas

Most days, I look forward to cooking dinner, especially if I’ve selected a new recipe to try.  A good supper makes every day better, and to my mind, redeems even the worst days.  If Eric comes home after a bad day at work, my assurance to him is invariably, “We’re going to have a great dinner tonight.” I don’t know if the prospect of an extra-special supper makes him feel any better about a lousy day, but I know he appreciates my cooking.

Last week I needed to make some extra-comforting dinners for us.  I started with a recipe for “Quick Beef Empanadas” I found in America’s Test Kitchen’s latest booklet of recipe cards.  The picture of the empanadas was irresistible, and the recipe appeared simple and tasty.

Quick Beef Empanadas

From: America’s Test Kitchen 30-Minute Suppers, Winter 2010


1 lb. 85 percent lean ground beef

1 onion, chopped fine

2 Tbsps tomato paste

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp ground cumin

1 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I used VT cheddar)

1/4 C finely chopped fresh cilantry (I used close to 1/3 C)

salt and pepper

1 (15 oz) box Pillsbury Just Unroll! Pie Crust


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Cook beef and onion in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, garlic, and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Off heat, stir in cheese and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Cut each dough round in half. Arrange one quarter of filling on one side of each dough half, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges. Brush edges of dough with water, fold over filling, and crimp edges to seal. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Using fork, pierce dough at 2-inch intervals so steam can escape. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

It took me a total of 50 minutes to make the empanadas. They were well worth the time. The recipe made four empanadas, and Eric and I each  got multiple meals out of them because they were so hearty and rich.  They were a perfect dinner for a freezer Vermont night and tasted just as good for lunch in the following days.  I reheated them in aluminum foil in a 300 degree oven for about 30 minutes one day, and on another occasion in a 325 degree toaster oven.

*Editor’s Note: The photo above comes from Cook’s Country, published by Cook’s Illustrated (the publisher of the America’s Test Kitchen recipe booklet I have).  The photo doesn’t represent the empanadas I made but rather a different recipe for pork empanadas.


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