USA Empanada

Summer Olympic Beef Empanadas

Beef Empanadas

Ever since I spent a semester abroad in Salamanca, Spain, empanadas have been one of my all-time favorite foods.  I remember waiting in line at a local panaderia, taking in the smell of fresh pastry and the savory morsels of delish inside the perfectly sealed crust.  

In the spirit of the Summer Olympics kicking off tomorrow night, these are the perfect party appetizer to serve because you can decorate the pastry with Team USA and stars using a simple cookie cutter.  It’s a great way to get the kiddos involved and make it a DIY baking activity!  

USA Empanada


Adding in the hint of saffron with the combo of olives and raisins makes this a more traditional Brazilian flavored bite, a nod to Rio, host to this year’s Summer Olympic games.  Serving small portions like this encourages moderation, too!  3oz of lean beef only has about 160 calories.  

Beef is one of my favorite proteins to entertain with because it’s so versatile.  I partnered with the California Beef Council to create this recipe, and had the honor of meeting their staff and getting the know more about the beef industry in the Golden State!  Beef is the 4th largest commodity in California — and cattle ranchers there are often 4th and 5th generation farmers. One interesting fact is that these hard working ranchers also happen to be stewards of the land, since so many endangered species make their homes on the gorgeous, expansive farms throughout the state.

Golden state, golden empanadas, gold medals — and gold standard of taste.  Pretty much a win for TEAM USA!

*This post was sponsored by the California Beef Council, but all opinions are my own.

Beef Empanadas
Brazilian style empanadas filled with savory beef
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  1. 2 Tb canola oil
  2. 1/2 sweet onion diced
  3. 2 cloves of garlic minced
  4. 1.5 pounds ground beef
  5. kosher salt to taste
  6. 3 Tb tomato paste
  7. 2 Tb chopped cilantro
  8. 1 Tb hot pepper jelly
  9. 1/4 cup chopped green olives
  10. 2 Tb golden raisins
  11. 1 Tb smoked paprika
  12. 1 tsp cumin
  13. 1 Tb garlic powder
  14. 1 tsp saffron
  15. egg wash
  16. 1 box puff pastry (thawed)
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Saute ground beef in canola oil until meat is cooked through. Drain.
  3. Return to stove top and add onion, fresh garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, saffron and garlic powder. Saute until fragrant and onion is soft, about 7 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Add tomato paste (stir to combine into beef mixture), cilantro, pepper jelly, olives, raisins and kosher salt to taste.
  5. Lay out puff pastry on a cutting board and using a mug or biscuit cutter, punch out a small circle shaped pastry. Put a couple spoonfuls of meat in the center and fold in half, sealing the edges by pressing down with the tines of a fork.
  6. Prick the empanada with the fork in a couple spots.
  7. Using cookie cutters, make pastry stars or letters to decorate the empanadas.
  8. Brush with egg wash, then add the cut outs to each empanada. Brush again with egg wash.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
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