Need something different and delicious to take to your next potluck or picnic? Pork Picadillo Empanadas are a great finger appetizer best served at room temperature which makes them the perfect potluck or picnic food. A Spicy pork filling tucked into a tender Masa Harina infused crust - so easy - so portable - so delish
The Making of Pork Picadillo Empanadas
Pork Picadillo Empanadas are a perfect dish to take to a potluck or on a picnic. Bite-sized flavor-filled packets of spicy pork tucked inside a flavorful tender turnover; empanadas are easy to make, easy to pass around, and very portable.
What is an Empanada?
While many consider empanadas to be Latin, they are actually made all over the world, with a variety of fillings and doughs. The name comes from the Galician, Portuguese, and Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread.
"Empanadas are easy to make and very portable"
The Ingredients List
Here's what you need to make the filling for these savory Pork Picadillo Empanadas
- Ground Pork Tenderloin - I like to grind my own tenderloin to ensure it is lean, if you buy pre-ground pork just make sure it's very lean - not more than 10% fat.
- Onion - Good old yellow is best although either white or sweet could be substituted.
- Green Apple - Granny Smith is my preference, but Pippin will also work.
- Jalapeno or Serrano Pepper- Check the heat before adding your jalapeno. Many are more mild than hot. If you want to add some heat, perhaps a Serrano pepper might be your pepper of choice. Add the jalapeno for balance.
- Spices - Chili powder, cumin powder, cinnamon, and ground all-spice
- Golden Raisins - Plump these up in some hot water for about 5 minutes before using.
- Lime juice
- Toasted balanced almonds - You can buy these already toasted and slivered at most all grocery stores.
- Sour Cream - full fat, or low fat, but not non-fat.
On to the wrapper or crust
- All-Purpose flour
- Masa Harina - NOT cornmeal. Masa Harina is used for making corn tortillas and has a very distinctive flavor and texture. It can be found in almost all supermarkets or ethnic Mexican foods markets. If you can't find it you can order it here.
- Your favorite fat - Melted. You can use half butter, half oil, all oil, or all butter. I like using half butter and half olive or avocado oil.
- Eggs - 2 large - NOTE: You will use one egg in the dough, the other will be used to seal the empanada and make a glaze.
- Baking powder, salt, water.
Step by Step Instructions
Meanwhile - Pour hot water over the raisins and allow them to plump up-about 5 minutes
While the meat mixture cools, prepare the dough for the crust.
Once the dough is soft and pliable work half at a time...
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Picadillo literally means "mince". The filling can be made from almost anything, but the most common are ground pork and ground beef. In this recipe feel free to change the ground pork to ground beef if you like, or even ground chicken or turkey.
Yes. You can easily prepare the filling a day in advance if desired, refrigerate until needed. Or, if you prefer, you can make the whole empanada a day in advance, cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Remove covering before cooking.
I adapted this recipe for Pork Picadillo Empanadas from Bon Appetit's Outdoor Entertaining cookbook. I like the dough in Bon App's recipe because it was one of the few I found that used Masa Harina (what they use to make corn tortillas and tamales) in it. Most recipes used only flour or Puff Pastry, but I find the addition of the masa really gives the dough a great flavor. The dough comes together very easily and rolls out beautifully. The original recipe called for melted butter, but you know me if it's melted butter I will usually substitute olive oil; in this case, I did half melted butter and half mild olive oil. You can do one or the other, or both.
Make sure you use the egg wash on both side of the empanada before attempting to close them. Then carefully stretch the dough a bit to make sure both sides are together without any filling in the seam. That should work. It also helps to use a fork to "crimp" the edges.
No. Actually they are best when only slightly warm and or at room temperature. This is one of the reasons they are such a great pass around appetizer.
What to serve with
Stoarge, freezing, and reheating
Pork Picadillo Empanadas can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for a few days at least. Reheat in a 325ºF (168ºC) oven for about 15 minutes until warmed through.
You can also freeze them. Reheat at 350ºF (177ºC) for 30 minutes till thawed and heated through.
Make it a meal
You can make these empanadas a part of a main meal by serving them along side:
LindySez: This post was originally published in 2014. It has been updated to the most recent standards for recipe publishing.
Pork Picadillo Empanadas
- For the Filling
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 12 ounces ground pork tenderloin grind your own, or use your food processor to pulse it into a grind, or buy very lean ground pork
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped green apple I used Granny Smith
- 1 jalapeño or serrano (check for heat) minced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ cup golden raisins pour boiling water over and let sit for about 5 minutes. This will plump them up and remove some of their sweetness
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- ½ cup chopped toasted blanched almonds blanching is removing the skin. I buy mine with the skin already removed and with them already toasted. If you have to do this step, put them into boiling water for 5 minutes. Let cool then remove the skins. Bake the almonds in a 325°F oven for about 10 minutes, or until toasted
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For the Dough
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup Masa Harina corn tortilla mix, found in most grocery stores and in ALL Mexican markets
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup your favorite fat melted (use half butter half oil, all oil, or all butter. I used half melted butter, half oil)
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon water
- 2 large eggs 1 is going into the dough the other is going to be for a wash
- Prepare the Filling: Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions, apple, pork, jalapeño (or Serrano or both) and garlic, cook, stirring often, until the pork is cooked. Add the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and some salt and pepper. Stir until well incorporated; add the raisins and lime juice and cook until the lime juice has reduced to not being there. Remove from heat; stir in the almonds and sour cream. Allow to cool.
- For the Dough: Butter 2 large baking sheets, line with parchment paper, or use a silicon mat.
- Heat oven to 375°F. (190.6ºC)
- In a large bowl mix together the flour, masa, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the melted fat. In a small bowl whisk together 1 of the eggs with ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon water, add to the flour mixture. Knead in the bowl until a smooth, pliable dough forms, about 2 minutes. Working with half the dough at a time, roll out on a floured surface to ⅛th inch thickness. Use a 3 ¾ inch biscuit cutter to cut dough into rounds. Reroll dough scraps and cut out additional rounds; you should get about a dozen per half of the dough. Continue with the remaining dough.
- Whisk the remaining egg in a small bowl to blend. Place about 1 ½ tablespoons filling in the center of each dough round, lightly brush the edges with the egg. Fold over, lift up and gently press the dough together over the filling. Make sure to close them well. Place on prepared sheets. Brush the empanada tops with the remaining egg wash and bake for about 25 minutes, or until nicely browned. Serve with sauce of your choice.