Empa-Nadas For Your Mamas

Empa-Nadas For Your Mamas

A photo posted by Mia Lardiere (@theoliveeye) on

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Deep-fried meat pies

Say, "Mom, I Love You".

An incompetent parent from my mom's preschool attempted to outshine my Teacher's Appreciation Week gift of a dozen muffin versions of Emily's coffee cake with a batch of empanadas. 

She failed.

The dough was bland and the filling looked like a slug  however, her pico de gallo was on point. 

With such criticism, I had no other choice than to make my own empanadas as a buttery, greasy Mother's Day gift. 

Be Warned: if you make both the dough and the filling from scratch, you will be in the kitchen for a good portion of the day. Blast some bachata, a Zumba playlist, or your favorite Hot Mix to pass the time. You could use frozen packaged empanada pockets, but your mom deserves so much more after shoving you through her birth canal.

empanadas for your mamas

From Epicurious - Yields 5 large emapanadas or 8-10 smaller pockets

The Dough: 

  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Sift flour with salt into a large bowl. Squish in the butter with your fingers until the mixture is a yellow, coarse meal speckled with little butter lumps.

Beat the egg, water, and vinegar in a separate bowl with a fork. Add it to the butter lumps and stir together with a fork. 

Turn the loose mixture out onto a floured surface and gather together. Knead it gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together. Form dough into a flat rectangle and chill in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour.

The Filling: 

  • 2 hard-boiled large eggs
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 pound ground beef chuck
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
  • 1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving 2 tablespoons juice, and chopped
  • 1 batch of homemade empanada dough, or 1 package frozen empanada pastry disks
  • About 4 cups vegetable oil


Cut each egg crosswise into 10 thin slices. (Omit the eggs if you're not a fan of huevos.)

Cook onion in olive oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened. Add garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in beef and cook, breaking up lumps with a fork, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

Add raisins, olives, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and tomatoes with reserved juice, then cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced but mixture is still moist, about 5 minutes. Spread on a plate to cool.

Preheat oven to 200°F with rack in middle.

Dust a work surface with flour. If using the homemade dough, break off five or ten equal sized sections based on the size of the empanadas that you are planning to make. Roll out each section with a rolling pin about 6 inches to a thickness that's substantial enough to support the meat. Fill the center with 2-3 tablespoons of meat and top with two slices of egg. Fold the top half over to meet the bottom of the pocket and enclose, crimping with a dampened fork. Repeat this process until you run out of dough.

Heat 3/4 inch vegetable oil in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Fry empanadas, 2 or 3 at a time, turning once, until crisp and golden, 4 to 6 minutes per batch.

Transfer to a shallow baking pan and keep warm in oven while you and your father assist your mom in finding songs to accompany her 'toy-themed' preschool graduation.

Ideally, you will have already eaten because there are no songs about toys or games that do not  allude to crude sexual acts.

Snappy Substitution:

Make My Ma's Eggplant Parmesan Instead.

Happy Mother's Day Mom. I love you more than you love jean shirts.


Analyze & Discuss:

Name ONE song about toys, games, or dolls that is not related to unrequited love or sexual domination. I dare you.*

*Read: We're desperate for suggestions.

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