How to Make Jennifer Garner’s Fave Beef and Cheese Empanadas

How to Make Jennifer Garner’s Fave Beef and Cheese Empanadas
Credit: Instagram/Jennifer Garner
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Anyone familiar with Spanish or Latinx cuisine will likely be familiar with the delightful treat that is the empanada. The fried pastry dish can be enjoyed as a snack, or as the central part of a main meal, and you can choose a whole lot of different fillings like beef, cheese, chicken or potato. The key point here is that they’re damn tasty and worth learning how to make. And lucky for us, our pal Jennifer Garner has decided to share her favourite recipe for empanadas.

During one of her episodes of #PretendCookingShow, Garner showed us how she likes to make mini empanadas for her kids using her shiny new KitchenAid. The recipe comes from Cook’s Illustrated.

Let’s check it out, yeah?

How to make Jennifer Garner’s fave mini beef and cheese empanadas

What you’ll need for mini empanadas:

  • 3 ¾ cups AP flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed & chilled
  • 1 ¼ cups ice water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp minced fresh oregano, or ¼ tsp dried
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • ½ lb 85% lean ground chuck
  • ¾ cup beef broth
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions for mini empanadas:

  1. For Dough: Combine flour, sugar, salt in food processor, ~6 secs. Scatter butter pieces over mix, pulse until coarse crumbs.
  2. Transfer to large bowl. Working with ¼ cup water at a time, sprinkle over flour mix and stir using rubber spatula, press mix against side of bowl to form dough, until no bits flour remain (you may not use all water).
  3. Remove dough, divide into 2 pieces. Press each half into a ball, then flatten into 6in [15cm] disk. Wrap disks in plastic, refrigerate until firm, not hard, ~2 hrs.
  4. For Filling: Heat oil in 12-inch [30cm] nonstick skillet until shimmering. Soften onion. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, oregano, cumin, cloves, cayenne- cook until fragrant, ~30 secs. Add beef, break up pieces, cook until no longer pink ~4 mins.
  5. Stir in broth, simmer ~8 mins (moist not wet). Off heat, stir in sugar, salt & pepper to taste. Transfer to bowl, cover with plastic, refrigerate until completely cool, ~hour. Stir in cheese, chill until needed.
  6. For Empanadas: Lightly flour area, roll dough into 18-inch [45cm] circle, ~⅛ inch [3mm] thick. Using 3-inch [7-8cm] round biscuit cutter, cut 24 rounds. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet, discard dough scraps. Repeat with second disk.
  7. Fill, seal, and shape the empanadas using roughly 1 tsp of chilled filling. Crimp edges using fork. Brush tops with egg wash.
  8. Bake at 425° [218C] until golden brown, ~20 mins, switch and rotate halfway. Cool 5 mins.
  9. Yum!

You can watch Garner working through the recipe for empanadas below.

After you’ve given these empanadas a go, you can always try to whip up a Jennifer Garner-approved dessert with this recipe for a blueberry buckle.

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