• Leigh

Quick and Easy Supper: Giant Baked Beef Empanada


Empanadas are little meat pies, sometimes baked and sometimes fried. They originated (probably) in Spain, but certainly made their way to the New World at some point. Many versions of empanadas proliferated in South America, in homes and shops. At their most basic, empanadas include a filling that is wrapped in a bread dough. The version I'm offering here is far from authentic, but it's really good and quick to make. It's also economical, using only half a pound of ground beef. The filling is tasty, mild (no hot spices), and savory-sweet. Onion, raisins, and a few capers give the filling a flavor reminiscent of picadillo. Yes, I use canned crescent roll dough to make the giant empanada, and, yes, it's cheating--as in not from scratch. It works, and the roll dough gets dinner on the table fast. I haven't had any complaints at home--just people going back for seconds....

Giant Baked Beef Empanada -- Serves 4+

1/2 pound of lean ground beef (93 percent)

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon of ancho chile powder

1/2 teaspoon of chile powder

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon of annatto powder (optional)

1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes (preferably with onion and oregano)

2-3 tablespoons of tomato paste (depending on how "tomatoey" you like your filling)

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 cup of raisins

2-3 teaspoons of capers

1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro

1 cup of shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

2 tubes of crescent rolls (8-10 ounces)

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and crumble in the ground beef. Saute it for 6-8 minutes and then add the onion. Continue cooking the beef/onion until the beef is cooked and browned a bit (6-8 minutes). Stir in the garlic powder, oregano, ancho chile powder, chile powder, ground cumin, and annatto powder and let everything cook a minute or two. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and stir everything well. Add the salt, raisins, and capers and let the mixture cook until it has thickened and isn't runny. Turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and coat a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line it with parchment paper. Unroll one can of the crescent rolls to form a large sheet. Seal the perforations and stretch the dough out a bit so it's smooth (and the edges don't curl up). Spoon the beef mixture along the center of the dough, leaving about an inch on each side. Sprinkle the cheese evenly on top of the beef mixture. Unroll the other can of crescent rolls, again sealing the perforations (do the best you can, the world won't come to an end if the dough doesn't look perfect, and just patch the holes if you make any--I won't tell). Place the dough on top of the other piece of dough with the beef mixture, covering the filling/cheese. Seal or crimp the edges. If you have extra dough/thick edges, just pinch the dough off and use it to make a design to decorate the top of the dough (like a rope, swirl, etc.). Put the giant empanada into the oven and bake it for 13-16 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Slice the empanada into pieces to serve it. Yum, yum.

#empanada #beef

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