MB Manion Morell

Cuban Beef Picadillo Empanadas

MB Manion Morell
Cuban Beef Picadillo Empanadas
Cuban Beef Picadillo Empanadas


Though these awesome empanadas were the first dish served at our Cuban Fiesta last week, they will be the last recipe I’ll share.

Because I saved the best for last.

I adore a good empanada, and these Cuban Beef Picadillo Empanadas are absolutely fabulous.  Stuffed with spicy ground beef, salty olives, and sweet raisins, these empanadas disappeared from the platters as fast as we could put them out.

Cuban Beef Picadillo Empanadas

Margarita whipped up the picadillo I stuffed into the empanadas the night of the party.  (Picadillo loosely translates to “Cuban hash,” by the way.  In case you’re wondering.) When I asked for the recipe, it involved a number of Goya spices and spice mixes.  I wanted to re-create a recipe that used things already in my pantry, so I sought inspiration from a pair of Cuban cookbooks in my collection to enhance the tips she shared.  I think it’s close to Margarita’s effort, and after the third batch I’ve made this week – I can assure you, they’re absolutely delicious. Just be sure to remember the olive juice.

One of my awesome Bourbon and Brown Sugar readers requested the entire menu from the feast (thanks Julie!). This was a true team effort… I think Margarita and I composed a menu that rocked, so here goes:

Blackberry Mojitos

Cuban Beef Picadillo Empanadas

Cuban Salad with Pineapple and Avocado and an Orange Sherry Vinaigrette

Cuban-Style Roast Pork – like this one: Cuban-Style Roast Pork

Moros y Cristianos loosely based on this: Moros y Cristianos

Orange Flans with Cointreau loosely based on this

Guava and Cream Cheese Mini Pop-Tarts

Margarita created the totally authentic roast pork and Moros y Cristianos from her memories of a lifetime of Cuban food… no recipes were in sight as she worked her magic, so I shared recipes found on the wilds of the internet that seemed close to what she concocted.

That was fun.  I think we’ll have to host another Cuban Fiesta to benefit the school again next year… don’t you agree, Margarita?

A few things I’m crushing on at the moment:

Thanks BuzzFeed, love that the Peanut Butter Dulce de Leche Brownies were featured on your 23 Brownies that Are Almost Too Powerful I’m particularly crushing on these Munchies Brownies.

Love these photographs… food and so much more.

Thanks for stopping by, all!



Cuban Beef Picadillo Empanadas

Cuban Beef Picadillo Empanadas

Makes: 20 empanadas


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion,
  • 1 medium-sized green pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup dark raisins
  • ½ cup pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 package La Saltena Empanada Wrappers for the oven (If at all possible, find these Empanada wrappers from La Saltena.  They’re the Argentine style – light and flaky.)



  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Place the onion, green pepper, and garlic in a food processor and chop until very fine (but don't chop it so long it turns to mush.)
  3. Drizzle the olive oil in the bottom of a skillet, and sauté the finely chopped veggies until the onions are translucent.
  4. Scatter the oregano, cumin, and cayenne pepper to the vegetables, and cook for another minute or so.
  5. Add the sherry to the veggies and cook for another minute.
  6. Add the ground beef to the vegetables, stir frequently to break up the meat, and cook until the meat is cooked through and crumbly.
  7. Add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, raisins, olives, and ¼ cup of the olive juice from the jar.
  8. Let the meat cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
  9. Place a tablespoon of meat onto the center of each empanada disk. Fold the dough over to make a half-moon, and seal with a decorative pattern.
  10. Place the empanadas on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.
  11. Serve warm, or at room temperature.