Recipe courtesy of Larisa Alvarez for Food Network Kitchen

Instant Pot Pork Empanadas

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 55 min
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 20 empanadas
This is one of my favorite ways to cook shredded or pulled pork. The fall-apart tender and juicy meat is great on its own, but it’s also one of my favorite empanada fillings. The fresh acidity of guasacaca, a creamy avocado-based Venezuelan sauce, is the perfect complement.


Abuela Chabe’s Seasoning:


Guasacaca, optional:


Special equipment:
a 6- or 8-quart Instant Pot® multi-cooker
  1. For Abuela Chabe’s Seasoning: Stir together the annatto (if using), cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and curry powder in a small bowl (see Cook's Note).
  2. For the empanadas: Put the chiles de arbol, garlic and 1 cup water in a 6- or 8-quart Instant Pot® multi-cooker and set to high saute (see Cook's Note). Stir 2 tablespoons salt into Abuela Chabe’s Seasoning, then roll the pork into the mixture, packing it into all the crevices. Set the Instant Pot® trivet in the bottom of the multi-cooker and place the pork on top. Set to pressure cook on high for 1 hour. After the pressure cook cycle is complete, follow the manufacturer's guide for natural release and wait until the natural release cycle is complete, about 10 minutes. Be careful of any remaining steam and unlock and remove the lid. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  4. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and cut against the grain into 1/2-inch slices. Transfer the slices to a medium bowl. Remove the trivet from the Instant Pot® and transfer the garlic cloves to the bowl with the pork. Discard the chiles and set the liquid aside. Shred the pork and garlic, then add 3/4 cup of the liquid and stir to combine. Taste, adding more liquid if necessary. Let the pulled pork cool to room temperature. 
  5. Spray 2 baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Brush the bottom half edge of an empanada disc with beaten egg, then place 1/4 cup pulled pork in the center. Bring together the bottom and top edges of the disc to form a half moon shape, then place the empanada on a flat surface. Use a fork to press and seal the edges closed, then brush the top with beaten egg. Repeat with the remaining empanada discs and pulled pork and transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the empanadas are dark golden brown, 17 to 20 minutes.  
  6. For the guasacaca: Put the vinegar, garlic, jalapeños, avocado, cilantro, onions, sugar and a pinch of salt in a blender and process until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or sugar, if necessary. The guasacaca can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Makes 1 3/4 cups (see Cook’s Note). 
  7. Serve the empanadas with the guasacaca if desired.

Cook’s Note

Settings may vary on your Instant Pot® depending on the model. Please refer to the manufacturer's guide. We use Abuela Chabe’s seasoning anytime we need to add flavor. It regularly goes on our chicken, pork and beef dishes, but it also shines in soups, particularly in black beans. We also use guasacaca on eggs and sandwiches, or as a dipping sauce for proteins or vegetables.