Venezuelan Turnovers
Empanadas Venezolanas


Makes 48 empanadas

This is a classic Venezuelan empanada made with either wheat flour or arepa flour, depending on the cook's preference. To serve these turnovers for a cocktail party, make them ahead and freeze. Your guests will really appreciate them.

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 12 ounces lean ground pork or beef, or a combination
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium-size onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 medium-size ripe but firm tomatoes (10 to 12 ounces),
  •      peeled, seeded, and quartered
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon capers, drained
  • 1/4 cup muscatel wine or cream sherry
  • 6 small black olives, pitted and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dried currants
  • 1 recipe Masa para Empanadas al Homo
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water

1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the pork, oregano, cumin, salt, and black pepper and cook, breaking up the meat, until the pink color disappears.

2. Place the onion, tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic, and capers in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Add the puree to the meat along with the muscatel, olives, and currants and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated but the mixture is still moist. Taste for salt. Remove from the heat, let cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight to let the flavors develop.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into 4 logs and cut each into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 3-inch circle. Place 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center, lightly brush half of the edge with the egg mixture, fold in half to form a half-moon, and press the edges together firmly.

4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

5. Just before baking, brush the empanadas with the egg mixture and bake on the upper oven rack until lightly colored, about 20 minutes. Be careful: overcooking will dry out the filling. Serve warm.

NOTE These empanadas freeze very well unbaked. Freeze on baking sheets lined with waxed paper until hard, then transfer to covered containers. You can pop them in the oven frozen; just increase the baking time by 5 minutes.

  • from:
  • The South American Table
  • The Flavor and Soul of Authentic Home Cooking
  • from Patagonia to Rio de Janeiro with 450 Recipes
  • by Maria Baez Kijac
  • Harvard Common Press
  • Paperback (2003)
  • ISBN-10: 1558322493
  • Recipe reprinted by permission.

Buy the Book

The South American Table


Visit Destinations page for more South American food by individual country.

This page modified February 2007

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