Holiday Feature

Lamb Picadillo Empanadas
with Mint Mojo

Lamb Picadillo Empanadas

Yield: 15 to 20 Empanadas


Lamb and mint are traditionally paired, and they work well inside these hot, flaky pastries. The dough can be seasoned with crushed black pepper and cumin seeds or rosemary, enhancing the lamb's natural flavor. Freeze any empanadas you have left over.


Mint Mojo
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons mint jelly
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Lamb Picadillo
10 ounces ground lamb
1/2 cup diced white onion
1/2 cup seeded and diced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1/2 cup diced tomato
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons caper, drained
3 tablespoons minced green olives
Salt and pepper to taste

Empanada Dough
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup ice-cold water
1 teaspoon salt

Vegetable oil, for frying


Place all of the mojo ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. Keep refrigerated until needed.

To prepare the picadillo, heat a large sauté pan or skillet over high heat and cook the lamb, stirring occasionally, until it is crumbly and lightly browned about 10 minutes.

Drain off the fat and return the pan to the heat. Stir in the onion, bell peppers, garlic, and tomato, and sauté for 5 minutes over high heat. In a small bowl, combine the tomato paste, red wine, and sherry, and add this mixture to the pan. Stir in the capers and olives, and cook until the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, and let cool.

Place about 1 tablespoon of the picadillo filling in the center of each dough round, fold over to form a half-moon or turnover, and seal the edges with a fork.

In a large cast-iron pan, heat 1 inch of the oil to 300 degrees. Fry the empanadas until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

Recipe from:

Nuevo Latino:
Recipes That Celebrate the New Latin-American Cuisine

by Douglas Rodriguez with John Harrisson
Photographs by Dennis Galante
$27.95, cloth,
Ten Speed Press
ISBN 0-8915-752-8
Recipe reprinted by permission.


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This page created December 1998; modified November 2006