BBQ Beef Empanadas

How does the saying go? “If at first you don’t succeed try, try again…” or something along those lines? I take this especially true in cooking. I mean not every recipe I make comes out blog worthy or even edible for that matter. So rather than nixing the recipe in the you know what I like to take another stab at it just to be sure, making any necessary modifications if needed. Though sometimes the second time around fails just as miserably as the first it’s always worth a second shot. It’s those very moments when a slight variation of my original attempt turns out to be something great. So great, I kind of want to jump up in down in my kitchen. I may or may not have actually done it once or twice. There can be nothing more discouraging than putting time and effort into something to have it fail. Not just in the kitchen but the real world. We, as humans, don’t take failure well so naturally if something doesn’t work for us we tend to give up afraid of experiencing the disappointment all over again. Though it’s in those hesitant moments of trying again that we build courage and strength to see it through. Overcoming the fear of “I can’t do this” or “I’m not good enough” is what sets us up for failure in the first place. The truth is, you really CAN do absolutely anything you set your mind to.

Kind of like these empanadas. I’ve never been an exceptional baker. Partly because measuring so precisely isn’t really my thing. Sure I can bake cookies, brownies and treats along those lines but cakes and pies it’s like I’m just setting myself up for a big mess and no reward. In my defense, pie crust though can be a tricky thing (or maybe I’m the only one who thinks so) and it’s always been one of my kitchen nemesis. The first time I tried making these little hand pies I practically cried. Okay maybe I did cry, just a little. The dough started off perfect and then just like magic it was as if my fingers had transformed it into a giant crumbly mess. It split, cracked, crumbled and everything in between. Just to salvage what blood, sweat and tears (not literally- that’s unsanitary) I had put in I scooped up the filling and dough and smooshed it between my hands just to get it to sort of stay together. They looked like if an empanada had an ugly twin sibling. I kid you not, it was just awful. Well, though attempt one didn’t go so swell I knew I HAD to get it right. I mean why COULDN’T I make an empanada that didn’t resemble a funky looking meatball? So I went for it, again, and to even my own surprise they actually came out looking like an empanada. I mean maybe they’re weren’t the prettiest but hey, I’ll take it! I mean truly in the end it’s the taste that matters and let me say these little bites of smoky, spicy BBQ and pie crust are just simply the bomb.

BBQ Beef Empanadas

Paleo/Gluten-free/Nut-free

Makes: about 20 empanadas/Bake time: 15 minutes

Dough

Filling

  • 1/2 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/4 c BBQ sauce (I used this)
  • 1/2 c grass-fed cheddar cheese, shredded (omit if strict paleo)
  • egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten)
  • optional toppings: greek yogurt, additional cheddar, green onion, cilantro
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Prepare the dough by combining all of the ingredients, flour through salt, and knead by hand. Roll the dough into a ball and then roll out on a lightly floured surface.
  3. Using a circle cookie cutter or upside cup (about 4 inches in diameter) cut out circles from the dough. Repeat process until you get about 20 and/or use up the dough. Try not to over work dough as it will dry out and begin to crumble.
  4. Lay dough circles about a half inch apart onto a lightly greased baking sheet. You can do this step in batches.
  5. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of beef into the center of each circle and top with a pinch of cheese.
  6. Wet the outer edge of each circle with a little water then carefully fold it in half tucking in the beef/cheese mixture so you can gently press the outer seam closed around the filling. Repeat this step for each.
  7. Lightly brush the top of each empanada with egg wash.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes or until empanadas are golden brown.
  9. When done allow to cool for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack until ready to serve.
  10. Top with Greek yogurt, green onion and cilantro if desired. Extra BBQ sauce makes a great dip as well!
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