Paula’s White Trash Empanadas

When Paula told me about this wonder while we were cooking snacks in Marcus’ kitchen during her last visit (this was a trick she used to clean out her refrigerator via a dinner party before she departed the Bay Area), I knew that these were something my life would not be complete without.  The recipe has been transcribed as per Paula’s e-mail.  Note: Paula adores bacon, so if you want the true experience, choose to go that way with your choice of fat for cooking.


  • 1 can crescent roll dough (won ton wrappers or puff pastry will also do, though baking time will have to be modified)
  • 12 oz or so beef tenderloin or flank steak (I used tenderloin)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 T minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 2-3 T lard, bacon fat, or butter (yum!)
  • American cheese slices (amount will vary, about 4 though)
  • Flour for rolling dough


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut beef into 1/4″ thick medallions and set aside.  Next, melt fat in small saucepan with lid, then add onion and cook until caramelized.  You should have a bed of buttery onions.  Add garlic, cook for 30 seconds or so.  Then turn heat to low and add beef.  Put lid on pan, and simmer beef on melty, buttery onion bed until cooked through.  Take pan off heat.
  • Open dough and roll out crescent roll pieces into rough squares, about 1/8″ thick.  You may have to cut them and piece them together when you start to get low on dough.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove beef from pan, then (separately) remove onions and garlic from pan and place in bowls.  Roughly chop cooked beef.
  • Cut American cheese slices into fourths (four squares per slice).
  • For each empanada, place one cheese square, about 1 tbs of chopped meat, and about 1 tsp of onion garlic mixture into center of dough piece.  Draw up edges and squish together to make empanada, then place seam-side down on baking sheet.  Bake them all at 375 for 15-18 minutes, until puffed and golden.  Yum!

One response to “Paula’s White Trash Empanadas

  1. Pingback: Glitter = Performance | Tenaciously Yours,

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