small but mighty. [mini beef empanadas]

May 1st, 2020 by | comments

Although this time has been extremely difficult for everyone, it has given us the opportunity to reflect on what we value. I miss seeing my family and friends, working from the office with my co-workers, dining at delicious restaurants with my husband, etc., but have found other ways to stay busy and positive. Without a work commute, I’ve been spending much more time in the kitchen trying new recipes and methods. These mini beef empanadas were inspired by a dish at DAMA, an incredible Latin restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. This recipe came pretty close, but I still need to figure out how DAMA makes their drool-worthy Brazilian hot vinegar!

mini beef empanadas
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • Dough recipe:
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • Filling recipe:
  • ¼ lb. ground beef
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup chicken stock or broth
  • ¼ cup tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic glove, crushed
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • ½ tbsp. tomato paste
  • ¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
  1. For the dough:
  2. In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Beat the eggs with the wine and vinegar and drizzle over the flour mixture. Pulse until the dough just comes together. On a lightly floured work surface, gently knead the dough until smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  3. For the filling:
  4. In a medium skillet, heat the oil. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no pink remains, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, onion and bell pepper and cook over moderate heat until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato, tomato paste and chicken stock and simmer over moderate heat until the liquid has nearly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Let cool.
  5. For assembly:
  6. On a generously floured work surface, roll out the dough ⅛ inch thick. With a 3-inch round biscuit cutter, stamp out as many rounds as possible (you should have about 24). Re-roll the dough scraps and stamp out additional rounds if possible. Brush the excess flour off the rounds. Working with 1 round at a time and keeping the rest covered with plastic wrap, form the empanadas: Spoon 2 teaspoons of the filling on one side of the dough round. Fold the dough over to enclose the filling and braid the edges or crimp the edges with a fork to seal. Cover with plastic wrap while you form the remaining empanadas.
  7. For baking:
  8. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a deep skillet, heat ½ inch of oil to 350°. Fry 4 empanadas at a time, turning once, until browned and crisp, 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and transfer to a baking sheet. When all of the empanadas have been fried, reheat them in the oven and serve alongside a vinegar sauce of your choosing.
Recipe adapted from Food & Wine.

// share //