Carne Mechada Empanadas

Created by Kari Ray

There are as many varieties of empanadas as there are cooks in Venezuela! This version incorporates the hearty style of carne mechada found in Pabellón Criollo…the national dish of Venezuela. These empanadas are full of delicious flavors that are sealed into a buttery, flaky crust that are sure to transport your taste buds to Latin America!


  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs beef stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • Pie dough (homemade or store bought), rolled thinly (enough for 8 6-inch circles)
  • 1 egg white, whisked


To make the filling:

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large pot on medium high heat.
  2. Add stew beef, and sauté until lightly browned on all sides. You may need to work in batches so as not to overcrowd the meat. Remove beef when browned and set aside.
  3. Add the onions and sauté 5 minutes or until tender.
  4. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  5. Add beef back into the pot. Stir in broth, sugar and remaining spices. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour 30 minutes or until beef is tender.
  6. Uncover and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, for an additional 10 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.

To make the Empanadas:

  1. Use your favorite pie dough recipe or store-bought pie dough. Cut dough into 6-inch circles.
  2. Spoon beef filling (about 1/4 cup) onto the center of dough leaving enough space to fold and crimp the edges.
  3. To fold, bring one half of the dough over the filling, and use fingers to crimp the edges closed.
  4. Place empanadas on a lined baking tray and brush tops with the whisked egg white.
  5. Cut two to three small slits in top of dough to allow steam to escape.
  6. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until crust is beginning to brown.

To Serve

Serve warm with your favorite salsa.

30 minutes
2 Hours
2 hour 30 minutes
2 Empanadas
4 servings
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