Beef Picadillo Empanadas

  • Yield 30 pieces
  • Prep 30 mins
  • Cook 30 mins

These little meat pies could be the hit of the party.

California Raisin Marketing Board


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tomatoes; peeled, seeded and chopped
1 cooking apple; peeled, cored and chopped
1 serrano chile pepper, chopped
3 3/4 cups California raisins, plumped in warm water
1/4 cup green olives, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
teaspoon pepper
3 cups masa harina for tortillas
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lard
2 to 3 cups warm water


  1. Filling: Heat oil in sautépan over medium-high heat. Add beef and sauté, breaking up any chunks until nicely browned. Add onion and garlic; continue to sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes more. Season to taste and cool.
  2. Dough: In a large bowl mix masa, salt and lard together. Gradually, add enough water to form a smooth soft dough. Divide into 30 walnut-size balls. Place a ball of dough between two pieces of plastic wrap and flatten into 6-inch circle with a tortilla press. Remove top layer of plastic and place 1 tablespoon of filling in center of dough. With fingertip or pastry brush, brush edges of dough with water. Fold over and seal. Remove from plastic and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat for all. Pan fry or deep fry in hot oil until nicely browned.

Recipe by the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, courtesy of the California Raisin Marketing Board



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