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Plantain Empanadas

A classic canape with a rich Latin flavor

En español

Yields: 12 empanadas


Meat filling

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small Spanish onion, cut into small dice
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ½ medium red pepper, seeds and veins removed, cut into small dice
  • 1 Roma tomato, peeled, seeds and pulp removed, cut into small dice
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped  
  • 1 tablespoon pimento-stuffed olives, sliced
  • ½ jalapeño pepper, seeds and veins removed, cut into small dice
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 tablespoon tomato sauce
  • 1 pound ground beef, 90% lean
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Plantain masa:

  • 4 green plantains
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • Salt to taste
  • Canola oil for frying 

See also: Recipes from Hispanic cooking expert Denisse Oller.


Meat filling

  1. In a large pan, heat oil at medium heat and add onion. Sauté for 3 minutes or until translucent. Add carrot and cook for additional 2–3 minutes.

  2. Add garlic, red pepper, tomato, scallion, olives, jalapeño, raisins and tomato sauce. Cook for 5 minutes.

  3. Add ground beef and cook until juices evaporate, approximately 8–10 minutes.

  4. Add lime juice, parsley and cilantro. Mix well and remove from heat.

Next: How to prepare the plantain masa. >>

Plantain masa

  1. Cut three plantains in half; do not peel.
  2. In a large pot, add plantains, onion, garlic and salt to taste; boil at medium heat for 15–20 minutes. Remove from heat, leave in pan and cool to room temperature.
  3. Grate the remaining raw plantain.
  4. Combine cooked plantains, raw grated plantain, egg, butter and salt in a food processor. Mix until the masa acquires a soft and somewhat sticky texture.
  5. Shape masa into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  6. Flatten masa into a thin sheet. Use a tortilla press or plantain press (tostonera) to cut masa into discs.
  7. Place 1 tablespoon of meat filling in center of each masa disc. Fold over masa disc, and seal edges together carefully. Use fingers to gently press and seal the empanadas.
  8. Heat oil in a large pan and fry empanadas for approximately 2–3 minutes on each side, turning them over until they are golden brown.
  9. Place fried empanadas on a paper towel to remove excess oil.

Note: Uncooked empanadas can be wrapped in plastic and stored in the freezer for later use.

You may also like: Three potato recipes for every occasion.

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