1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 lb. ground beef
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 c. onion, chopped (1 sm. onion)
1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped (2 cloves)
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. capers, drained
4 tsp. chopped green olives
1 c. water
1 egg, beaten
These little meat pies make great street food – and great on-the-go-food. Make them ahead and warm them up and it's a hearty thing to keep the kids going through all nine innings of baseball night!
Note: I can never get filling and pastry to come out exactly evenly. Have some hamburger buns handy and use the remaining filling to make "Sloppy Joe's" (Or Sloppy José's, in this case.) My son thinks it's important to let you know that spicy things leftover get spicier – so the perfectly fine meat on Tuesday is a bit too spicy for tender tastebuds on Friday...
Note: Dough needs time to rest! Start early.
Healthy substitution: Watching your cholesterol or counting calories? Lighten up by substituting ground turkey or chicken for the ground beef.
Yields: 12 empanadas (and 3 Sloppy José's)
Make the dough
In a mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. (A mixer is the best choice here; I've exhausted my handmixer beating cream cheese...and beating it by hand you'll exhaust yourself!)
Gradually add flour and 1/2 tsp. salt and beat until well combined.
Form the dough into a thick disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.
Make the filling
In a large skillet, brown ground beef, cinnamon, cumin, 1/2 tsp. salt, allspice, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Break up any big pieces and toss well so the spices are well incorporated throughout the meat.
When meat is browned, add onion and cook until softened. Then add garlic and cook briefly.
Add tomato paste, vinegar, brown sugar, capers and olives. Stir in the water and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 15 min. Remove from heat and let stand. Filling should be cool when forming the empanadas.
Put it all together
Flour a pastry cloth and roll the dough out to 1/8 in. (.32cm) thick. (This dough rolls like a dream!) Cut 5-inch (12.7cm) rounds of dough using a biscuit cutter or a bowl. Re-roll the leavings and cut more rounds. (I rolled three times and ended up with 12 rounds.)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mound 2 Tbsp. of cooled filling on one side of a dough round. Brust the other edge with beaten egg. Fold over edges to make a half-moon shape. Press edges with a fork to crimp and seal.
Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Lay the formed empanada on the tray. Poke a few slits in the top. Repeat for the other dough rounds.
Bake approx. 15 minutes at 350°F. Edges will start to be golden brown.
Cool on racks. Serve warm. Play ball!
Submitted by Gretchen Grant Contributed on: and modified on Tuesday September 11th, 2007