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When I was born we lived in a trailer park called Cadillac Estates that is mostly burned down now.  Today I am a vegetarian living in Los Angeles learning how to love vegetables.  

  • Writer's picture CJ

Black Bean and Plantain Empanada

Black Bean and Plantain Empanada Recipe - Chipotle Aioli

A few years ago I made a list of 40 things to do before I turned 40. I called it my #40x40 list. Some of the items were big like traveling out of the country for the first time. Others were much smaller like learning how to poach an egg and making Empanadas. I also wanted to host a fancy dinner party. My aunt even shipped me my paternal grandmother's silver flatware to use for the occasion. I cherished polishing her silver.

So, for the fancy dinner party one of the appetizers I made was of course Empanadas. The first batch did not turn out very well at all. I overworked the dough and they were dry instead of flaky.

I did some research and I wound up finding a really great recipe from this website. This recipe is some of the best pastry and it turns out perfectly every time I've made them since my first attempt. I like using the food processor for the dough.

I found the filling recipe on the food52 website. I also add some queso fresco or cotija cheese depending on what is available at the time. It's important to make sure that the plantains are ripe, if they aren't ripe your filling is going to be dry.


For Dough:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

6 oz unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)

1 egg

1/4 cup to 1/2 cup water or milk, adjust as needed to obtain a soft and smooth dough.

For filling:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 (15 oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed.

1 red pepper, finely chopped

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, grated

2 ripe plantains, peeled and diced

1 1/2 tsp cumin

2 tsp adobo sauce, from the can of chipotles

1 handful of parsley (because cilantro is gross)

Cotija or queso fresco cheese


For Dough:

1. Mix the flour and salt in a food processor.

2. Add the butter and pulse

3. Add the egg and the water/milk in small increments and continue to pulse until a dough begins to form.

4. Split the dough in two and shape into round discs. Rest dough for 10 minutes. Can also be refrigerated until ready to use over the next 1 or 2 days.

5. Roll out the dough into a thin sheet and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas. Use round molds or a small plate.

For filling:

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute onion for about 5 minutes until soft. Add peppers and garlic and cook until soft. Add the beans, plantains, and the rest of the ingredients, except the parsley. Drop heat down to medium and cook until spices are fragrant, up to 10 minutes. Then stir in parsley. Allow to cool slightly before filling empanada dough.

To assemble:

place a spoonful of the filling on the middle of each empanada disc. The amount of filling will vary based on the size of the empanada, but in general, it is easier to seal an empanada that isn't overstuffed. Add a small amount of crumbled cheese.

To seal the empanadas, fold the disc and seal the edges by pressing the dough with your fingers. If you're having a hard time sealing the edges, you can brush the inside edges with egg wash and use a fork to seal the edges,

Refrigerate the empanadas for at least 30 minutes before baking.

Brush with egg wash before baking.


When ready to bake preheat oven to 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes depending on the size and filling.

While waiting to cool stir in adobo sauce in mayo to make aioli for serving

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