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Empanadas with Spicy Pork


These bite-sized hors d'oeuvres can be served with a salsa verde.

  • Yield: Makes 60

Source: Martha Stewart Living, September 1996


  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 5-pound pork butt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 small onions, finely diced
  • Salsa Verde for Empanadas
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Homemade Chicken Stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
  • 8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted


  1. Toast spices in small, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, shaking pan often, 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful not to scorch spices. Let cool, finely grind, and combine with garlic.

  2. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Bring pork to room temperature; rub with spice mixture. Roast in a heavy roasting pan until pork is very well done and falling off the bone, about 2 1/2 hours. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Trim fat and remove pork from bone. Dice into small pieces, cover, and set aside.

  3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions; saute, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add pork, 2 cups salsa verde, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, pepper, and stock. Simmer until liquid starts to thicken, 5 to 8 minutes.

  4. Whisk together flour, shortening, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and baking powder in bowl. Add 2 1/2 cups warm water; knead dough until smooth. Cover; let stand 10 minutes. Divide into 60 1 1/2-inch balls; cover with plastic.

  5. Lightly flour work surface; roll out each dough ball to 3 1/2-inch disk. Place 1 heaping tablespoon pork filling in center of each; fold dough to enclose filling and form a half moon. Seal edges by crimping with fork.

  6. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange empanadas on parchment-lined baking sheets; generously brush with butter. Bake 2 pans (meanwhile, refrigerate others) until light brown, 20 to 25 minutes; rotate pans between racks halfway through. Let cool slightly; bake remaining pans. Serve with remaining salsa verde.

Cook's Notes

Allow time to cook the pork so it is falling off the bone.

Reviews Add a comment

  • westphila
    4 AUG, 2010
    I was also disappointed with the dough. It was tough and tasteless. The pork filling, however, was delicious. i think it'd be excellent in tortas, tacos or burritos. I might try this recipe again using a different dough.
  • CuppaTea
    4 MAY, 2009
    I made this recipe back in 1996, and just found it again. By coincidence, the same day, I had an impromptu party with many Mexican friends, who showed up. They went wild over this recipe, as did my husband. It's delicious and worth the time. Although I am not so good with dough-type recipes, they turned out a little too hard, but I'm sure that was my fault. If anyone has a suggestion for this, I'd love to hear from you? Try this one, you will love it!