Empanadas de Picadillo with Tomato-Cucumber Salad & Lime Crema

Empanadas de Picadillo

with Tomato-Cucumber Salad & Lime Crema

55 MIN
2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

Empanadas “de picadillo,” or savory pastry turnovers filled with ground beef, are a longtime favorite in Latin American cuisines. Our Mexican-style version showcases the seasonal, succulent delight of fresh tomato­—also tossed with cucumber in a light and refreshing salad. (Partially peeling the cucumber is an easy way to create textural contrast and a beautiful presentation.) On the side, tangy crema seasoned with lime is perfect for dipping or drizzling.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    800 Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
time-saving
tips & techniques
Prepare the ingredients & make the lime crema:
1 Prepare the ingredients & make the lime crema:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Core and halve the tomato; small dice 1 half and medium dice the remaining half. Cut off and discard the scallion roots; thinly slice, separating the white bottoms and green tops. Peel the cucumber, leaving alternating strips of skin intact; halve lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds; medium dice the cucumber. Using a peeler, remove the lime rind, avoiding the pith; mince the rind to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Quarter the lime. In a bowl, combine the crema, half the lime zest and the juice of 1 lime wedge; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Start the filling:
2 Start the filling:

In a medium pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the ground beef; season with salt and pepper. Cook, frequently breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.

Finish the filling:
3 Finish the filling:

Add the tomato paste and spice blend to the pan of ground beef; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the tomato paste is dark red and fragrant. Add the small diced tomato, white bottoms of the scallions, remaining lime zest and ½ cup of water. Cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits, 3 to 4 minutes, or until thickened and saucy; season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Assemble the empanadas:
4 Assemble the empanadas:

Lightly oil a sheet pan. Fill a small bowl with water. Place the empanada wrappers on a work surface. Spoon ¼ cup of the filling into the center of each wrapper (you will have extra filling). Using your fingers, working 1 at a time, lightly moisten the edges of the wrappers with water; carefully fold the wrappers in half over the filling. Using a fork, firmly press down on the edges to crimp and seal the empanadas. Carefully transfer to the prepared sheet pan.

Bake the empanadas:
5 Bake the empanadas:

Place the empanadas in the oven and bake, rotating the sheet pan halfway through, 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed up. Remove from the oven and lightly drizzle the tops with olive oil. Let stand for at least 2 minutes before serving.

Make the salad & plate your dish:
6 Make the salad & plate your dish:

While the empanadas bake, in a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, medium diced tomato, green tops of the scallions and the juice of the remaining lime wedges. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the baked empanadas and salad between 2 dishes. Serve with the lime crema on the side. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

1 Prepare the ingredients & make the lime crema:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Core and halve the tomato; small dice 1 half and medium dice the remaining half. Cut off and discard the scallion roots; thinly slice, separating the white bottoms and green tops. Peel the cucumber, leaving alternating strips of skin intact; halve lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds; medium dice the cucumber. Using a peeler, remove the lime rind, avoiding the pith; mince the rind to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Quarter the lime. In a bowl, combine the crema, half the lime zest and the juice of 1 lime wedge; season with salt and pepper to taste.

2 Start the filling:

In a medium pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the ground beef; season with salt and pepper. Cook, frequently breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.

Start the filling:
Finish the filling:
3 Finish the filling:

Add the tomato paste and spice blend to the pan of ground beef; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the tomato paste is dark red and fragrant. Add the small diced tomato, white bottoms of the scallions, remaining lime zest and ½ cup of water. Cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits, 3 to 4 minutes, or until thickened and saucy; season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

4 Assemble the empanadas:

Lightly oil a sheet pan. Fill a small bowl with water. Place the empanada wrappers on a work surface. Spoon ¼ cup of the filling into the center of each wrapper (you will have extra filling). Using your fingers, working 1 at a time, lightly moisten the edges of the wrappers with water; carefully fold the wrappers in half over the filling. Using a fork, firmly press down on the edges to crimp and seal the empanadas. Carefully transfer to the prepared sheet pan.

Assemble the empanadas:
Bake the empanadas:
5 Bake the empanadas:

Place the empanadas in the oven and bake, rotating the sheet pan halfway through, 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed up. Remove from the oven and lightly drizzle the tops with olive oil. Let stand for at least 2 minutes before serving.

6 Make the salad & plate your dish:

While the empanadas bake, in a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, medium diced tomato, green tops of the scallions and the juice of the remaining lime wedges. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the baked empanadas and salad between 2 dishes. Serve with the lime crema on the side. Enjoy!

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