Pork Empanadas

Prep time: About 30 minutes (dough prep considered)

Cooking time: Filling: About 15 minutes, Pockets’ Baking Time: About 25 minutes

Calories per serving: 221 (based on 24 empanadas)

pork empanadas 

My husband had his annual summer gathering with his friends recently and since I have made banoffee pie for them in the past, it was sort of expected that I made something again. Everyone knows I love cooking so it’s really something I was looking forward to.

Initially, I thought of making Lumpia (Filipino-style spring rolls), but for convenience purposes, I had to think of something else.

And then, ting! Empanadas came to mind. I was initially thinking of going the classic chicken empanada route, but then, I ended up forgetting the chicken breasts! Hahaha.

I took a quick look at the prime pork roast I got which I was gonna make pulled pork with. I had the make the empanadas that night so I told myself, to hell with it, let’s make this work.

Without further ado, here are the ingredients:

For the dough:

3 cups all purpose flour

2 tbsps granulated sugar

6 tbsps shortening or unsalted butter

½ cup ice cold water

½ tsp white vinegar

1.5 tsps baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 egg

1 egg for egg wash

For the filling:

1.5 lbs prime roast pork, cut into small bits

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, diced

1 tbsp olive or canola oil

½ cup low sodium beef or chicken stock

1 cup julienne carrots

½ cup Frozen peas

1 medium-sized potato, cut into small cubes

About 1 tbsp sea salt

About 1 tsp black pepper

¼ cup mild green chiles (optional)

½ tsp paprika

A dash of ground turmeric


Make the dough first.

In a small mixing bowl, slightly beat the egg, add the vinegar, and set aside.

In a separate bowl (medium size will do but large is recommended), mix together the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Add the cold water gradually and mix with a wooden spoon/ladle. Gradually add in the cold water. Mix until you reach the consistency of dough, which would be lumpy at this point.

Next, on a floured surface, knead the dough to make sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Form into a ball and wrap with cling wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Prepare the filling.

Sweat (not sauté) the garlic and onions in an oiled hot pan (on medium high heat). Make sure it’s big enough for all the ingredients otherwise it might be a little challenging to stir them all later.

Add the pork bits and potato cubes and let them brown. Add the salt, pepper, paprika and turmeric so as to build your flavor profile. This process should take about 10 to 12 minutes. Make sure to watch it so as to not burn any of the sides.

Then, add stock into the pork mixture. I added the peas at this point since I used frozen ones. Turn the heat down to medium low and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Next, add in the carrots and keep simmering for about 5 minutes. Add the chiles and cook for another 2 minutes. Set aside and let cool for a few minutes (about 10 minutes).

pork empanadas 3

Get your chilled dough and get ready to roll 🙂 You would also want to preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) at this time.

The secret to dough rolling as I have found is making sure your dough is chilled. I have also used both unsalted butter and shortening. The main difference I found is that when you use shortening, the crust seems to come out flakier.

Anyway, it’s always best to have some extra flour beside you when you are rolling your dough. That way, you can flour your rolling pin whenever dough starts sticking to it.

pork empanadas 2

Flatten your dough on a slightly floured surface. Roll with the rolling pin and make small circles. Either use a cup base for shaping or make small balls (about the size of a golf ball) and roll each into 1/8 of an inch (0.3 cm) thickness. Each should be about 4 inches in diameter.

Fill each pocket with the pork filling. Fold, fill then seal. Just put enough filling then pinch the edges so it seals. I use a fork to make it look a little fancier when they finish baking.

pork empanadas 1

Lastly, brush each pocket with egg wash and stick a fork in each of them. This allows the filling to “breathe.” The egg wash makes the pockets “shine” and look smoother when they are baked.

Line a large baking pan with parchment paper (for easy clean up). Please each pocket onto the lined pan, about 1 or more inches apart. Bake for 25 minutes. Enjoy warm with a cup of coffee or tea or have two for a quick lunch or dinner.

                                                                                  Eat well and be well. – Ella Bella

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