Chipotle Pulled Pork Empanadas – from Leftovers?

This recipe is marvelous but be sure to read the post if you want all the hints and help to fashion up your own.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 diced onion, small dice
  • 1 cup finely diced sweet potato
  • 1/2 each diced red and green pepper, small dice
  • 2 cups shredded pork (notice this pork already has some mild flavor)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water
  • a cup of chopped greens, 1/2 inch pieces, kale is great
  • 1 minced Chipotle in Adobo (one pepper, not one can)
  • 1 few dashes of red wine vinegar, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey, a small drizzle, to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 five-inch rounds of Empanada dough
  • 1 egg, mixed with a little water, about a tablespoon
  • Sea salt, to sprinkle on top, optional (not traditional)


Add oil to a  large skillet, heat and saute onions and sweet potato for several minutes, until the sweet potato has softened. Add the bell peppers and saute until tender but still a little crisp. Add the pork, water, minced Chipotle pepper, and kale, stir to mix. Add honey and salt and pepper to taste.

Cook until the moisture is mostly evaporated and a spoon, run across the bottom to separate the ingredients leaves a dry path. Cool completely.

When cool and Empanada dough is ready, if cooking right away, preheat oven to 425 degrees. (Note: I’ve noticed if Empanadas are filled and refrigerated for a half an hour before cooking, the dough seems flakier and they seem to have a better seal. If you are going to refrigerate before cooking, hold off on the preheating and the egg wash!) Add a piece of parchment to a cookie sheet, mix egg and water for a wash.

To each round of dough, wet one half of the inside edge with egg wash. Fill with 1/3 cup of filling. Fold so the egg wash side meets the side without: I find this easiest to do in the palm of my hand. I place the dough in my palm, brush 1/2 with the egg wash, add the filling. With the other hand, I pinch the top edges closed, then pinch down each side to the points.

When the dough is pinched closed, go around the outside edge of the empanada again, pressing so there is a lip about a half-inch wide, all along the pinched edge. Lay on clean counter and press lightly with the tines of a fork, all along the edge, being careful not to pierce the body of the Empanada. Continue with the rest of the Empanadas in the same manner. (The edge of the dough could be turned instead of pressed.)

Brush each Empanada with egg wash and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little bit of sea salt. Bake at 425 until dough is browned and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes or so. Ovens vary, and the temperature is hot, so check at 15 and keep checking!


This recipe doubles easily and Empanadas freeze very well before they’re cooked. Simply make the Empanadas, but don’t brush with the egg wash. Lay them out on a flat surface in the freezer, preferably a surface covered with parchment. When frozen, wrap each individually and put into a larger bag or bags if desired.

Time does not include the dough and is based on starting with a cooked protein.

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