The Tailgate with Metsy: Empanadas

When TSW started the Friday Football Foodie, I immediately pounced on the idea of posting a how-to on how to make empanadas.  The fact that I did not know how to make empanadas was not important.  I’d solicit the help of one of my sisters-in-law (I have legion), and boom!  We have empanadas.

I never realized that it’d take me 13 months to actually get it done.  I’m a master procrastinator, what can I say?

Here’s all you need.  Simple as pie (why do people say this?  Making pies doesn’t look easy!).


Empanada dough (I bought the small ones, but there are also large ones you can buy.)
Guava (I bought guava jelly, which turned out to be a mistake.  It got runny when it got hot.  Get the guava paste.)
Colby-Jack cheese (or any kind of cheese)
Cooking Oil (not pictured)
Confectioner’s sugar

Put the circle of dough on a clean surface, and cover the middle with guava and cheese.  (Sorry this pic’s so small – I’m an idiot.)

Fold over the piece of dough, and close the edges with a fork.

Once you’ve got your pile, it’s frying time!

Set a pan with cooking oil on your stove, and heat it up!  You need hot oil to fry these suckers, or bad things will happen.  Like your star player in fantasy will get hurt and miss the rest of the season.

Place as many empanadas as you can inside the pan.  And let ’em fry.

Please be careful when frying.  Banish small children from the kitchen.

Fry them up till they’re nice and golden (or a little brown in the middle).

Sprinkle some confectioner’s sugar (a sieve works well) on top and viola! you’re done.

The best part about empanadas is that you can put whatever you like in them: beef, chicken, vegetables, cheese, etc.  Experimenting is half the fun.*  I’d never had guava/cheese ones till August, when my cousin’s wife made them.  They were so amazing, I knew I’d found my Tailgate treat.

*The other half is eating a couple of these.

13 thoughts on “The Tailgate with Metsy: Empanadas

  1. You’re right Metsy, pies are NOT easy to make. (Unless you use the canned pie filling and frozen pre-made crusts)

    The empandas look awesome! I will have to make these soon!

  2. These look delicious, but I would like to talk about frying for a moment.

    Frying is deeply satisfying and accounts for some astoundingly delicious food, but there are some things that should be mentioned about frying that relate to this post.

    -Get yourself a good fry thermometer. It attaches to the side of your pan and gives you exactly where the temperature is. This is important because olive oil boils at close to 600 degrees…so until that point, the oil never appears hot to the blind eye. Not only is super hot oil a major public safety hazard, but it will burn the outside and leave the inside undercooked, which poses a major problem if you are dealing with meat-filled empanadas. I have not made empanadas (yet), but most frying requires oil in the 325-350 degree neighborhood, so that would be a good starting point.

    -Also, never ever ever ever overcrowd the pot when frying. I know you say to throw in as many as you can, but doing so will drop the temperature of the oil which will slow the cooking and require a longer fry which can lead to burning. Working in small batches may take a few minutes longer, but they will cook evenly and the oil will hold temperature better.

    -Lastly, frying oil is reusable! Let it cool and run it through a sieve lined with cheesecloth and you can reuse it a few times. I would not advise frying bacon and beef empanadas and then using the same oil to fry zeppoles (see: Taco Bell cinnamon twists that taste like beef – which is ok by me), but if you plan to fry a lot of similar foods, it will definitely save you some dough (get it?!?!).

    Keep the yummies coming!

  3. Anthony: That’s all great advice!

    RE: heat of cooking oil. What you say is essential. I was making these with an experienced cook, using canola oil, and she knew when it was time to put in the empanadas. I rarely use frying oil, because I tend to overestimate how hot the oil is. I’m sure underestimating happens to people frequently.

    RE: overcrowding. What you said is truth. My inexperience as a cook gave me away with “put in as many as you can”. Especially when you’re making empanadas with ingredients that need to be cooked. With regards to making empanadas with things inside that should be cooked, I’ve seen most people cook them before hand. Like with beef. My SIL will cook the ground beef (or chicken) and let it cool, and then make the empanadas. We didn’t have that problem with cheese & guava.

    RE: reusing cooking oil. I’ll assure you that almost every Hispanic household has a cup or jar next to the stove for reusable cooking oil. It gets dumped when it’s not worth “sieving” anymore.

    But, Anthony, you really hit on some points that are important in a recipe that is all about frying. Thanks!!

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