Colombian Empanadas Recipe

Empanadas – small, golden brown bites of deliciousness, filled with a variety of ingredients, but in Colombia one of the most common recipes comes with beef. These are perfect for a snack on the go or a starter, and during my time in Colombia, I couldn’t get enough of them! Below is a recipe for how to make these savoury treats, served best with Aji – a typical Colombian hot salsa.

Ingredients (20 portions)

For the dough

  • 2 cup precooked yellow cornmeal (masarepa)
  • 3 cups of very hot water
  • 1/2 tablespoon sazon Goya with azafran, or 1 beef stock cube
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

For the filling

  • 2 cups peeled and diced white potatoes
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onions
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped spring onions
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 tablespoon chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying

To Make the Dough

In a large bowl mix the cornmeal, sazon Goya, hot water and the salt mixing thoroughly. The sazon Goya is a traditional Colombian seasoning that can be found on Amazon but if you cannot get it you can use a beef stock cube in its place.

Stir well, kneading it until it forms a dough. Let it stand, covering it with cling film while you make the filling.

To Make the Filling

Boil the potatoes in a pot with water and the stock cube for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain and mash the potatoes. Set aside.

In a large frying pan heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions, the tomatoes, spring onion, garlic, red pepper, coriander, salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring often for about 15 minutes.

Once the tomatoes have reduced in the pan, add the ground beef. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon, for 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture is quite dry. Add salt, pepper and cumin to season.

Once your beef and vegetables are cooked add this mixture to the mashed potatoes bowl and mix well to combine.

To Make the Empanadas

Break small golf ball sized portions of dough about 1 1/2 tablespoons for each one, and form each one into a ball by rolling between it into the palms of your hands.

Place the balls of dough on a chopping board between two pieces of plastic cling film and roll each out very thinly to form a circle (roughly 6 inches).

Peel off the top plastic and place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of each. Next, carefully fold the dough over to enclose the filling, forming a half circle.Tightly seal the edges by crimping with the edges of a fork.

Boil a large pot of oil, making sure it gets hot enough for deep frying. Using a large spoon with slots in, slowly place 3 or 4 empanadas at the time in the heated oil and fry for about 2 minutes until golden brown on all sides.

Transfer the empanadas to a plate lined with paper towels and let them drain. Serve warm with ají and lime on the side.

Top tip: When visiting Cusco, Peru you can enjoy another Colombian empananda experience when you visit Zenith Brewery . Order traditional empanadas from their in-house menu to be delivered and wash them down with a locally-brewed glass of beer!


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