Archive for April, 2011

Black Bean and Chorizo Empanadas

April 6, 2011

Next time you need a make-ahead appetizer for a crowd, try these empanadas.  With just 5 ingredients you can buy ready-made or make them from scratch yourself, these are a snap to prepare. Fill the empanada sheets the night before your party, then fry them off 20 minutes  before the party starts.  They only take half a minute on each side.  Keep them warm in a 200° F. oven or serve them at room temperature.  Offer a picante salsa for dipping…hot, medium or mild. 

The wrappers are called Plantillas and they are made of masa harina, the same dough used for tamales and corn tortillas.  Corn tortillas are not a substitute.  The other option is wonton wrappers,West Indian Meat Patties dough or pie dough.  Plantillas are available in most supermarkets and Latin/Caribbean markets.  The 4-inch rounds (18 per package) make 2  empanadas each.  The 8-inch or 10-inch rounds can be quartered.

Frying empanadas is quick and they won’t taste greasy if the oil is hot enough before frying.  I use an olive oil/sunflower oil product made in Spain. Heat just enough oil to cover the bottom of a non-stick skillet 1/4-inch deep.  The oil should not be smoking hot but rather wavy on the surface.  You’ll have to watch closely once the frying begins.  These empanadas crisp up very fast, less than a minute per side.

Chorizo is a Spanish or Mexican sausage full of spices and Spanish paprika or achiote (annato powder) which gives it the reddish color. Choose the chile content you prefer.  Some like it HOT!  Its essential to render the fat from the meat to mix with the sofrito, black beans and tomato paste. 

I know your guests will rave about these little pillows of flavor from the Caribbean.


  • 1 pound chorizo of choice, casings removed, and chopped
  • 1 can black beans, drained and mashed
  • 1/4 cup sofrito (click here for authentic recipe)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste mixed with 1/4 cup water
  • 1 package Plantillas 4-inch size
  • oil for frying


  1. Saute chorizo until caramelized and oil has been rendered.
  2. Add mashed black beans, sofrito and tomato paste mixed with water.  Stir until combined.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Cut each Plantillas in half if making hors d’oeuvres or leave whole for larger size.
  4. Place a spoonful of filling in center of wrapper leaving 1/4-inch space around edges.  Fold edges over to make a triangle (or moon for the larger size) and crimp edges together with the tines of a fork.
  5. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet until surface is wavy.  Place empanadas in hot oil taking care not to crowd them.  Fry until crisp, about 30 seconds on each side.  Remove to paper towels.

Check out this recipe video from Harvesting Eating