As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

Mole + Venison Empanadas (in about 45 minutes)

At first look you might think that I was trying to get fancy with dinner tonight with a few esoteric ingredients. Not the case. My good friend brought me back some mole from Mexico for Christmas. It has been sitting on my kitchen table, reminding me to eat it. This past weekend I also remembered all the venison I had in my freezer from Andy’s successful hunt over the holidays. Hmmm, venison + mole + empanada =  yummy?

I learned how to make empanadas from my Argentine roommate during my senior year of college. We would buy the pre-made empanada masa at Fiesta and then just stuff it with a mixture of beef, tomatoes and spices.

It seems that many cultures have their version of “stuffed pie.” While living in Minnesota, I learned to eat the “pasty” (rhymes with nasty, but is very good, nonetheless). I was told that it was brought to the upper Midwest by Northern European miners. The wives would pack their husbands lunch in this easy to carry pocket.

Here in Austin, we have the restaurant, Boomerangs, which specializes in “Aussie Meat Pies.” Apparently, they are very popular Down Under.

In India, they have somosas. In China, there are steamed sticky buns, often eaten as part of dim sum. And who could forget the Italian calzoni?

A culinary archetype, perhaps?

Ingredients (everything is an approximation because I only measured with my eyes)

  • ~1 lb ground meat
  • ~2 cups mole [Poblano]
  • ~12 masa discos
  • Half an onion, minced
  • 1 roasted red pepper, minced
  • Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Saute onion for a few minutes, then add roasted red pepper. Continue to saute for a few minutes more.
  • Add meat and saute until almost completely browned; add mole.
  • Saute a few minutes more. Add salt and pepper.
  • To stuff: Place ~1/4 cup of filling in center of masa. Line masa edge with water. Folder over and use fork to seal.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for ~15 minutes or until edges begin to brown (You could also put a wipe a buttered brush over each empanada before putting in the oven to help the top brown; I thought of this after the fact so did not do it.)
  • Remove from oven. Let sit for 5 minutes. ¡Buen Provecho!


Ready-made masa dough


Sauteeing onion and red pepper

Add ground meat

Add a little less than 1/4 cup of filling

Add a tad of water to the edge of empanada to create a seal

Fold over and seal with fork

Ready to go into the oven

Empanadas are done!

I will admit that since living in Bolivia and making my own masa, the pre-made masa did not do justice to the real thing (does it ever??). BUT, in a time crunch, the store-bought masa makes empanadas a quick meal or appetizer.

Overall, the verdict? = YUMMY

So go for it–try your hand at making a “stuffed pie” that you like!


4 responses

  1. Rachel

    I made empanadas with leftover chickpeas. I just cooked the garbanzos with carrots, celery, garlic and canned tomatoes. Then I added spices that were like a Mexican/Indian fusion. they are great! Did you use corn masa or flour?

    April 6, 2011 at 4:30 pm

  2. Rachel

    I love homestead idea sharing! Now I am making empanadas more often (now that I know about the Goya discos). This week I got fair trade bananas in my CSA (I have a new one in Pilsen and it is GREAT!) so I am pulling black beans out of my freezer to thaw and I’m making black bean and banana empanadas:

    Also, random, but I am baking my first loaf of seed bread in the bread machine I bought for $2.55 at a thrift store. Right now it is rising and looking marvelous! Hopefully it is successful!

    April 18, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    • How did the bread turn out?! And glad to hear you found another CSA that you are enjoying. Once I am not working 2 nites/week, I look forward to cooking more!

      April 20, 2011 at 3:07 am

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