Taste of the World: Cuban Picadillo Empanada

Whether you are celebrating Easter or Passover, Cuban picadillo empanadas are the perfect dish to serve as either an appetizer or main dish.


1 lb lean ground beef

2 tbsp canola oil

?  medium Spanish onion, small dice

2 garlic cloves, mashed

1/4 red pepper, seeded, deveined, small dice

1/4 green pepper, seeded, deveined, small dice

1 plum tomato, seeded, small dice

Black pepper to taste

? tsp oregano

1.5  tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp olives, finely chopped

2oz white wine

1 tbsp raisins

1 boiled egg, chopped

2 tbsp chopped cilantro

20 oz pack of ready made dough for turnover pastries

Water , a fork

Yields 4-6 servings


1. Heat a sauteed pan at medium-high heat and add the oil.

2. Add the meat and brown it, 3-4 minutes. Add the onions, cook until they are transluscent, approximately 3-4 minutes.

3. Add the garlic, peppers and tomatoes, and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, stirring ocassionaly. Add the tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste, and cook 5-7 minutes.

4. Add olives, raisins and white wine. Let it cook 5 extra minutes. Add cilantro and a chopped boiled egg.

5. Place a  disk on a flat surface.  Dampen the rim of the disk . Place one tablespoon of filling in the center of dough.

6. Turn the dough over to form a half circle and close by pressing with a frk.

7. Fry pastry in medium-hot oil  until golden brown.

8. Place on paper towel to remove excess oil.

Denisse Oller is a journalist, chef and community leader and a household name for million of Latinos in the U.S. Currently, Denisse is a Food and Nutrition Expert for AARP’s on-line Spanish language food channel, she is working on her first cookbook, and teaches recreational classes at The Institute of Culinary Education in New York. Over the past 20 years, Denisse Oller received widespread recognition as a news anchor/reporter  at Telemundo and Univision. Outside of the kitchen, Denisse Oller is the Executive Director for The Joseph A. Unanue Institute for Latin Studies at Seton Hall University.

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