Beef Empañadas & Romesco Sauce


1/2 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder, 100% cacao
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground clove
3/4 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons golden raisins
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 (14-ounce) can diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes, drained, reserving 2 tablespoons juice
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 package frozen Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets, thawed
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon of water
Romesco Sauce


In medium skillet over medium heat, cook onion until softened – 6 to 8 minutes.
Add garlic, coco, cumin, cinnamon & clove; Stir the mixture to combine & becomes fragrant – 1 minute.
Add ground beef & cook until no longer pink while breaking up lumps with a spoon – 5 minutes.
Add raisins, salt, black pepper, oregano & tomatoes with reserved juice; Stir to combine & cook until liquid is reduced but mixture is still moist – 5 to 10 minutes.
Remove from heat & let cool – 15 minutes.
Assembling the empañadas: Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, add egg and water; Whisk to combine.
Unfold the puff pastry dough & lightly press to flatten the seams. Cut the dough into four equal squares. Repeat process with second puff pastry sheet.
Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of beef mixture in the middle of each square. Lightly brush egg wash mixture to moisten edges of the dough & fold over to form a triangle. Seal & crimp edges with a fork.
Place triangles on the prepared baking sheet & brush tops with egg wash.
Bake until golden brown – 20 to 30 minutes.
Serve with a Spanish Romesco sauce.


Empañadas are a classic Spanish Tapas dish. They are similar to the Italian calzones or the Arabic meat-filled pies called samosa. Traditionally eaten as street food, empañadas are ideal for snacking on the go, but are just as satisfying for a simple tapas style dinner. My fragrant beef filling draws on a number of influences—Spanish, Puerto Rican and Argentinean flavors. Often empañadas use pie crust dough to enclose the filling and then fried. I like baking my empañadas and using frozen puff pastry for its light and flaky texture.

I like pairing regional cuisine with regional wines. Pair an Argentina or Rioja Spain medium to medium-full bodied red wine with these empañadas. The Argentinean Bodega Elena de Mendoza 2009 blended Malbec, Syrah and Bonarda creating a massive fruit bomb to explosive baking spice flavors. The bold spices in the meat filling harmonized with the Bodega, but the pleasing smooth finish of toasted oak and coffee married with the buttery pastry crust of the tapas.

Norpie’s Fork Tip:
Pressed for time? The meat filling can be prepared 1 day ahead and kept refrigerated. The filling can also be frozen up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge over night for a quick evening dinner or a snack on the go.

Norpie’s Cork Pairing:
•Bodega Elena de Mendoza Red Blend 2010 – A good Argentine combination of Malbec, Syrah & Bonarda with a big fruit profile, toasty oak & a slightly sweet kick. Less than $10.00 a bottle.


8 servings


Saturday, August 13, 2011 - 10:53am


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