Brisket Empanadas

August  8, 2016
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

This is an adaptation of El Bolero's brisket empanadas in Dallas. While you could use store-bought empanada dough, this homemade version is excellent—it's slightly crunchy around the edges and soft on the inside, hiding its pocket of brisket. —Paula Disbrowe

What You'll Need
  • Guajillo Pepper Sauce, Brisket, and Mexican Sofrito
  • 10 dried gujaillo peppers
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt, plus 1/2 tablespoon
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 3 pounds brisket
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons jalapenos, diced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Empanada Dough and Assembly
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • Canola oil, for frying
  1. Guajillo Pepper Sauce, Brisket, and Mexican Sofrito
  2. In a large pot over high heat, add the peppers, cloves, garlic, cumin, and 1/2 cup salt and cover them with water.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil and then remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes.
  4. After 10 minutes, blend in a blender until smooth, an then strain into a large bowl or container. Add the vinegar and then set aside.
  5. Heavily season the brisket with salt and pepper, and then in a large pot on the stovetop, sear it in on all sides. Add the guajillo sauce to the pot and then cook it over medium-low heat with the lid on for 3 hours, and then lid-off for an additional 2 to 3 hours. The brisket is done when you can take two forks and very easily rip apart the meat.
  6. Remove the cooked brisket from the guajillo sauce and shred it on a cutting board and add it to a bowl. Feel free to save the remaining guajillo sauce for another use!
  7. In a pan over medium-high heat, saute the onion, tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro, 1/2 tablespoon salt, and olive oil. Cook for 10 minutes or so until the onions are translucent. Remove from heat and then add to the brisket.
  1. Empanada Dough and Assembly
  2. In a large bowl, mix together with a wooden spoon or spatula the flour, salt, baking powder, and melted butter until it comes together.
  3. Add the water and egg and mix for about a minute more.
  4. Knead the dough until it's stiff, and then roll it out with a rolling pin to about 1/8-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, make individual empanada dough shapes.
  5. Preheat about 2 cups of canola oil to 350°F. Place 1 1/2 ounces of brisket mixture in the middle of each dough shape, fold them in half, and seal by pressing the edges with a fork.
  6. Fry the empanadas until both sides are golden brown—remove from the heat to a paper towel-lined plate. Enjoy immediately!

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Paula Disbrowe writes frequently about Food and Travel. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her bread baker husband David Norman, two children, and menagerie of retired ranch animals.

5 Reviews

Loreal July 11, 2023
The amount of salt is off by the measurement (T instead of c?) and who knows where the vinegar goes, but the technique is fantastic. Made 1/2 recipe with a 1.3# brisket and it was done in about 3.5 hrs. I added a few potatoes for the last hour in an attempt to temper the saltiness. Used it as filling for soft tacos.
Paula D. July 11, 2023
Hi Loreal - see step 3 for vinegar. You were correct on the salt, the measurement has been updated. Thanks for feedback, and trying this recipe!
[email protected] April 5, 2021
using 1/2 cup of salt for the guajillo sauce is literally insane and a waste of brisket. the sauce could have been delicious but the salt quantity made it inedible.
Paula D. July 11, 2023
Salt measurement has been updated, sorry about this!
ori November 15, 2016
step 2 in the dough recipe asks to add an egg, there is no egg listed in the ingredients.
how many eggs?
small? medium?