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Beef and Pork Empanadas for #SundaySupper

Beef and Pork Empanadas

It was a typical Saturday morning. Airplanes were tied down in rows on the side of the airport. An engine would crank followed by the familiar sound of a prop spinning. A few minutes later it would taxi to the runway and then head off into the sky. Watching planes take off and land was the thing to do while my dad tinkered with his plane. Then it was our turn to take a ride in the sky. After landing and securing the plane, it was time to get lunch. We occasionally stopped by this small shack to pick up barbeque. It was the closest thing to what could be called street food. There certainly wasn’t street vendors selling tasty food like beef and pork empanadas.

Street food still does not exist in my area. Even in the big city of Atlanta you won’t find it. At least not right now. It simply is not allowed. It’s even tough for food trucks because of the restrictions. That’s why you will only find them in approved places and only on certain days. I would have to drive about 25 miles to get to a food truck. Hopefully things will change and we can catch up to the rest of the big cities and the world.

Beef and Pork Empanadas are found in many Latin countries. They are a common street food because of being easily eaten on the go. A spicy ground meat mixture is covered with a flaky pastry and either baked or fried. The recipe I am sharing today is for the baked version. It comes from a dear friend and neighbor of mine, Marilyn Flynn. She is from Panama and has made these empanadas for many of our neighborhood parties. She shared the recipe with me years ago and I’ve been looking for the right time to make them. The Sunday Supper Global Street Food event was all I needed to cross them off my to-do list.

Beef and Pork Empanadas | Magnolia Days

The recipe below is an adapted version. The original makes twice the amount of filling. The pastry recipe makes about 18 and there is a lot filling left over. Marilyn’s notes state “you will need to repeat this pastry recipe as needed to finish using all the meat mixture”. I only made one batch of pastry and froze the rest of the filling. I also added more detail in the instructions.

You can adjust the spice level in the empanadas. It looks like it would be quite spicy using hot sausage, cayenne pepper, red pepper, and Tabasco. They are not that spicy unless you add more spice. Marilyn notes “always make the meat mixture a little hotter than you think you will like because when you put it in the pastry it will not taste as hot”.

What is your favorite street food? Is it available in your area or do you have to travel to find it? I’ll always have a fondness of barbeque and getting a hot dog from a classic New York street vendor is still on my to-do list. Be sure to scroll down and see the recipes inspired by Global Street Food being shared by Sunday Supper bloggers. Special thanks to the co-hosts of this event, Heather of girlichef and Beate of The Not So Cheesy Kitchen.

Beef and Pork Empanadas

A recipe for beef and pork empanadas, a savory crescent shaped pastry popular in Latin America. These are baked and served warm or at room temperature.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Cuban
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Author Renee


For the filling:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 stalk of celery finely chopped
  • 1/2 large sweet onion finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground breakfast sausage hot recommended
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 to 4 drops Tabasco sauce

For the pastry:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour bleached recommended
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chilled vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup ice cold water


For the filling:

  1. Heat the oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the celery and onion. Sauté until translucent. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Brown the ground beef in the skillet, stirring often to break up the beef. Drain off the grease. Add cooked beef to the bowl.
  3. Brown the sausage in the skillet, stirring often to break up the sausage. Do not drain. Add cooked sausage to the bowl.
  4. Mix together the salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the contents in the large bowl.
  5. Add the drops of Tabasco sauce and stir to combine ingredients.
  6. Refrigerate mixture for several hours or overnight. The butter and sausage grease should cool and harden to help hold the mixture together.

For the pastry:

  1. Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Add the shortening and cut it in using a pastry blender, fork, or with your fingers until the shortening bits are about the size of peas.
  3. Add the water and stir to bring the dough together.
  4. Shape the dough into a round disk and cover with plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least one hour.

To make the empanadas:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry dough to the thickness of a pie crust, a little less than 1/4-inch.
  3. Cut the dough into 4-inch circles. You can pull together and re-roll the dough pieces (note those may have a slightly different texture).
  4. Brush water on the edge of a pastry circle.
  5. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle of the pastry circle.
  6. Fold over the pastry and press down to seal the edge. Use a fork to crimp the edge.
  7. Repeat using remaining pastry circles.
  8. Place empanadas on a baking sheet. Use a fork to punch holes in the top of the pastry to allow for release of steam while baking.
  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges are very lightly browned.
  10. Transfer empanadas to a serving platter or cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

The pastry recipe will make about 18 empanadas. You will have a good amount of filling leftover. The filling can be frozen for future use or you can make more pastry to use up the filling. Empanadas can be frozen prior to baking. (Defrost before baking). If you prefer a more golden brown pastry, brush the tops of the empanadas with an egg wash prior to baking.

It’s a Global Street Food extravaganza! Take a look at these recipes and you will be ready to cook and taste the delights from streets all over the world in your own kitchen:

Bread on the Boulevard

Hand-Held Savory Eats

To-Go Containers

Sweets on the Streets

Grab a Thermos

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here → Sunday Supper Movement

Recipe Rating

Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Wednesday 28th of August 2013

Why does your food always look so perfect?! It sounds like such a delicious meal, too.


Friday 30th of August 2013

Thanks Jen. I try hard to make things look good. Your kind words made my day.


Monday 26th of August 2013

So sorry you're missing out on the food truck craze where you live, but looks like you're cooking up some tasty stuff on your own ;) I love empanadas, and I really like your version. A combo of beef and sausage? Brilliant!


Wednesday 28th of August 2013

Thanks Lori! There are some food trucks in Atlanta. The problem is there are only specified areas and days they can park and sell food. There are so many restrictions it is hard for them to operate.

Megan @ I Run For Wine

Monday 26th of August 2013

You know, as much as I love Empanadas, I have never made them at home. I may have to change that now. These look incredible Renee!


Monday 26th of August 2013

Time for you to tackle empanadas then. They are so worth the effort.

Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere

Monday 26th of August 2013

These empanadas look fantastic! We'll take them with spicy sausage!


Monday 26th of August 2013

Oh yes, spicy sausage is a must! (Plus extra spices too).

Micha @ Cookin' Mimi

Sunday 25th of August 2013

I adore empanadas and these look amazing. There aren't any food trucks or carts here either but I also live in a small town.


Monday 26th of August 2013

Small towns probably don't give enough business for street food or food trucks. Now big cities without them are just a shame.