Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

colombian empanadas

Recipe by
Lucy Selvaggio-Diaz
Brentwood, NY

Just about every culture has a variation of a meat pie. For example, Jamaican Beef Patties, Cornish Pasties, Chinese Pork Buns, Mediterranean Pide (Pita), and in the US Pot Pie. Even within a region or country the ingredients vary widely. This recipe is one version that my husband likes.

yield 20 serving(s)
prep time 30 Min
cook time 40 Min
method Deep Fry

Ingredients For colombian empanadas

  • 2 c
    precooked yellow cornmeal (masarepa)
  • 3 c
    hot water
  • 1 Tbsp
    sazon goya with azafran (3 packets), optional
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 2 c
    white potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 1
    chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 Tbsp
    olive oil
  • 1/2 c
    white onion, chopped
  • 1 c
    chopped tomato
  • 1/4 c
    chopped green onions
  • 1 clove
    garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp
    chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp
    chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 lb
    ground beef
  • 1 pinch
    salt, to taste
  • 1 pinch
    freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp
    ground cumin
  • 1 tsp
    sazon goya (1 packet)

How To Make colombian empanadas

  • 1
    Measure the masarepa into a large bowl, add the sazon, if using, and salt, and mix well. Add water and mix to form a dough (it will be a bit wet and rubbery). Let stand while preparing the filling.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, cook the potatoes with water and the bouillon until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, mash lightly, and set aside.
  • 3
    In a large, heavy skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil; add onion, tomatoes, green onions, garlic, bell pepper, and cilantro. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down, about 15 minutes. Add ground beef, season with salt, pepper, cumin, and sazon. Cook, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, until browned and fairly dry.
  • 4
    Stir in the potatoes and mix well.
  • 5
    Heat at least 2-inches of oil over medium high heat.
  • 6
    Break off a golf ball sized section of the dough (1.5 ounces) and with your hands, roll it into a ball. Place between plastic wrap and flatten, with the heel of your palm, into a 6-inch disc. Peel away the plastic from the top only and scoop the bottom plastic and the disc into your palm. Place a heaping tablespoon of the filling in the center, then fold the disc and pinch the ends closed. Slighly flatten to distribute filling. Do the same with the remaining dough and filling.
  • 7
    With a slotted spoon, gently lower the empanada into the hot oil and cook 2 minutes, turning about halfway through. Drain on paper toweling. You'll need to cook these in batches.
  • 8
    Serve warm or at room temperature with Aji or Avocado Sauce, and/or lime wedges.