Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Beef Empanadas and Mexican Rice

I made these awhile back for a mom who was bring home a new baby and her family. I toned things down a bit and made them more on the mild side but if you like it a little spicy follow the recipe as stated.

The filling for the empanadas is very tasty. You could probably add corn and or black beans in the filling as well if you wanted something more than just the beef. The recipe I kind of was following said to use frozen pizza dough for the empanadas but I decided to use my Grandma's pie crust recipe instead and next time I will probably make a traditional empananda dough which is just like a pie crust but has a few added things like eggs. These are also great to put in the freezer and would make a great snack for kids. Beats junk food like pizza rolls any day.

The rice is really good. It is moist and my favorite part is that you cook it in a dutch oven. So you just pop it in the oven and forget about it for a little while.

All that is missing is a cold cerveza! Feel like Mexican now?

So I made a really big batch so I'm not quite sure how many this will make. It will depend on how big you make your empanadas but you should get about 10. You may need to make a second batch of dough. Left overs of filling and dough can be frozen.


For the empanada filling
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 medium sized onion diced finely
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup salsa verde
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
  • about 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese (add as much or as little as you like)
For the empanada dough

Pie Crust recipe from Grandma de Vries
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup crisco
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ice water (2-4 tablespoons)
  • 1 egg, beaten for egg wash
For the Mexican rice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped seeded jalapenos (about 2 extra-large jalapenos)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 cups long-grain white rice (I used short)
  • 2 1/2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt, depending on the saltiness of the broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional


1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef to pan; cook until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion and next 6 ingredients (through garlic) to pan; cook 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring mixture occasionally. Stir in tomatoes and salsa and turn to low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and chill so you can handle the filling.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

3. Heat the olive oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, and jalapenos and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until opaque and nutty in aroma, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, salt, and spices. Stir well and bring to a boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and transfer to the oven. Bake until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 25 to 30 minutes.

4. While the rice is cooking start the dough. In a mixing bowl add flour and salt and cut in the crisco. Add just enough ice cold water for the dough to come together. Divide the dough in 2 equal parts and roll out to about 1/8" thick. Using a 4" diameter circle cookie cutter cut out as many as you can and repeat with the other half of the dough. You can also use a pizza cutter and just cut the dough into squares. Working with one round at a time, put a heaping spoonful of the beef mixture on one side of dough. Top with cheese; fold dough over beef mixture, and press edges together with fingers or a fork to seal. You may need to put a little water on the dough to get a good seal. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and coat empanadas with egg wash. Repeat procedure with remaining dough and beef mixture. When the rice is done remove from oven keeping the lid on so it stays warm and increase the oven temperature to 425° F. Bake for 12 minutes or until browned. Serve with sour cream or topping of your choice. Fluff the rice with a fork and stir in cilantro.

Empanada filling recipe adapted from Tex-Mex Calzones from the March 2009 Issue of Cooking Light Magazine.

Mexican rice adapted from Emeril Lagasse

1 comment:

  1. I am trying your empanada recipe tonight...I'll post so you can see how it turned out!
    Thanks for sharing your recipe! I looks like a very good one.


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