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The World of Mexican Cooking (1971) – Empanadas, Mexican Style (Ground Beef)

March 15, 2013
The World of Mexican Cooking (1971) by Mary Margaret Curry. UTSA Libraries Special Collections

The World of Mexican Cooking (1971) by Mary Margaret Curry. UTSA Libraries Special Collections

Curry, Mary M, and Betty Stiff.  The World of Mexican Cooking. Los Angeles: Nash Pub, 1971. P 81. [TX716 .M4 C87 1971].

Were last week’s empanadas so delicious that you wished you could make a meal of them? Well, guess what, you can!

Savory empanadas are served across Mexico as snacks and lunches. Meat empanadas may be stuffed with beef or pork, either shredded or ground, and sometimes also include chopped onions, tomatoes, potatoes, almonds, or raisins. Empanadas may also be filled with fish or shrimp – especially during Lent– or simply with a scattering of grated cheese. Today’s recipe uses a ground beef filling, flavored with chili powder, cumin, black pepper, and garlic.

Empanadas, Mexican Style (Ground Beef)

  • One heaping teaspoon of ground beef

    One heaping teaspoon of ground beef

    2 cups flour, sifted

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspon salt
  • 2/3 cups shortening
  • 2/3 cup milk

Sift dry ingredients together and cut in shortening. Add milk and stir just until dough follows fork around bowl. Knead two to three times on floured board and roll out about one-fourth inch thick. Cut in four-inch circles. Now make your filling. 

Three tablespoons of ground beef

Three tablespoons of ground beef


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

Sauté meat until it turns color, add spices, and simmer about ten minutes. 

Add one-half teaspoon chili powder to empanada dough as you are making it and proceed as you do for other empanadas using the meat for the filling.

Simmering the ground beef with spices

Simmering the ground beef with spices

Librarians Note: For reference, the complete empanada assembly instructions from last week’s recipe are copied below. However, I assume Curry intended for the meat empanadas to be served without the cinnamon sugar called for in the dessert empanada recipe.  

Place one heaping teaspoon pumpkin or sweet potato mixture on one half of the circle of dough, fold over, and crimp edges with fork. Brush pie with canned milk or egg white and bake on greased cookie sheet at 450 degrees for twelve to fifteen minutes or until pie is golden brown. When baked, sprinkle with mixture of sugar and cinnamon and serve warm.

In the Kitchen:

Ground Beef Empanadas

Ground Beef Empanadas

Because I was making these for dinner, I separated the dough into just 8 balls (instead of the 12 I used for the pumpkin empanadas) and rolled each one out separately. If you have a 4-inch cookie cutter, that would probably make it easier to achieve perfect circles, but the rolling method is perfectly adequate.

I found it was necessary to add about 1/2 cup of water to the ground beef to avoid simmering it dry during the 10 minute cooking period.

This may, however, be due to the fact that I used 91% lean meat. Fattier ground chuck may not have required the extra moisture. As

Ready to Serve!

Ready to Serve!

with the pumpkin empanadas, I found that a single measuring teaspoon was not sufficient. Instead, I filled each empanada with about three tablespoons of ground beef. This still didn’t quite use up all the filling.

Served with blanched greens and red tomato salsa, these ground beef empanadas made for a very tasty Tex-Mex dinner.

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