Beef and Poblano Empanadas
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Recipe courtesy of Alex Guarnaschelli

Beef and Roasted Poblano Empanadas

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 5 hr 35 min (includes chilling time)
  • Active: 1 hr 20 min
  • Yield: 24 to 26 empanadas
This is one of the first recipes I ever devised at Butter. I imagined that the meaty taste of the beef would come through more powerfully if boosted by tart cream cheese and heat from poblano chiles. The subtle addition of these two ingredients takes the filling to the next level. Make the empanadas the day before for best results. The longer these flavors get a chance to meld together, the tastier the result. Take care when cleaning the poblanos, they are deceptively spicy so wear gloves (or small plastic bags over your hands) when cleaning the ribs and seeds.


For The Dough:

For The Filling:

For Empanadas:


Special equipment:
3 inch round cutter
  1. For the Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour, 5 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon of salt on medium speed until completely blended. With the motor running, slowly add in water and continue to mix until a soft and pliable dough forms, 3 to 5 minutes. Flatten the dough into a 6-inch round, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to let rest for 30 minutes to 4 hours.
  2. For the Filling: In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil over medium high heat until it smokes lightly. Remove the pan from the heat and add the ground beef in a single layer. Season with salt. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain the beef, transfer the meat to a large bowl, and set aside.
  3. In a separate skillet, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, season with salt, and cook until soft and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Mix the onions and garlic into the beef and chill in the refrigerator. Once the meat mixture is cooled, add cumin and cayenne and mix to combine cumin. Add the cream cheese and mix well.
  4. Meanwhile, on an open flame or grill, roast the poblanos on all sides until charred, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Set aside to let cool enough to handle. Remove the skin, seeds and ribs. Cut the peppers into small strips. Set aside to let cool.
  5. For Empanadas: Line a sheet tray with parchment paper and dust with flour, set aside. Lightly dust a flat work surface with flour. Roll out dough into a 1/8-inch thick sheet. Make sure you flour only one side of the dough (if you flour both sides this will prevent the dough from sticking together when crimping the empanada.) Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Use a 3-inch cookie cutter to stamp out 24 to 26 rounds.
  6. Place a couple of strips of poblano in the center of one round and top it with 1 tablespoon of the beef mixture. Fold the dough in half to form a half moon and crimp the edges together by gently pressing them with the tines of a fork to seal. Place the cookie cutter over the empanada and use the edge to cut off any excess dough. Repeat with the remaining poblano strips, filling, and dough. Place the empanadas as done in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet that has been dusted with flour. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  8. Place a wire rack on a sheet tray, set aside. In a medium pot with a heavy bottom, heat the remaining canola oil until it reaches 350 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Slowly place 3 to 4 empanadas into the hot oil (don't crowd the pot) and fry, stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes total. Transfer cooked empanadas to a wire rack set over a sheet pan. Sprinkle immediately with salt. Working in batches, fry the remaining empanadas and arrange in a single layer on the rack. Place the sheet pan in the center of the oven and heat for 5 to 8 minutes to ensure the centers of the empanadas are warm.
  9. Serve empanadas with tomato salsa on the side.