Pancetta, White Bean, & Queso Fresco Empanadas

My son and I are huge empanada fans. (Now we’ve roped my husband in too!) So, last year we started the tradition of eating empanadas on Super Bowl Sunday. (With our guacamole, of course!) After seeing this version at Fiesta Friday, I knew I would have to choose this filling for one of our empanadas this year. They looked amazing.

The filling recipe was adapted from Bourbon and Brown Sugar Blog. I used a large shallot instead of the onion, added garlic to the filling, and chilled the empanadas prior to baking. I also made homemade whole wheat empanada dough and modified the baking temperature and time. The dough recipe was adapted from Carla’s Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes from Around the World by Carla Hall with Genevieve Ko. I cut the dough into 5-inch rounds as they were our main course; 3-inch rounds would be a perfect appetizer size. Yummy!

For the Whole Wheat Cream Cheese Dough:

Yield: 18 5-inch disks

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 1 /2 tsp coarse salt
  • 18 T cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 12 oz cold cream cheese, cut into 1-inch dice
  1. Make the Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flours and salt. With your hands, toss the butter and cream cheese in the flour mixture until each piece is lightly coated.
  2. With the paddle attachment, beat on low-speed until the dough comes together and forms a loose mass around the paddle.
  3. On two large pieces of plastic wrap, divide the dough in half and then gently pat each half of the dough into a 1-inch thick rectangle.
  4. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours. (Note: The dough can be refrigerated for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 3 months.)
  5. To Finish: On a floured work surface (or between layers of plastic wrap), roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick.
  6. Using a 5-inch round cutter (I placed the plastic-wrapped dough over a cutting board and cut the rounds using a bowl and sharp knife.), cut 18 rounds out of the dough, reshaping and re-rolling out the dough as necessary.

For the Pancetta, White Bean, & Queso Fresco Filling:

Yield: 18 empanadas

  • 8 ounces diced pancetta
  • ½ jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 large shallot or ¼ onion, finely diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 14-ounce can small white beans
  • 8 ounces crumbled queso fresco
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 18 5-inch disks of empanada dough (recipe above)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Fry pancetta until it begins to crisp up.
  3. Using the pancetta drippings left in the bottom of the pan, sauté the jalapenos, red peppers and onions on low heat about 10-12 minutes (the onions should be translucent).
  4. Add the white beans, and take off the heat.
  5. Add the crumbled queso fresco.
  6. Mound 2 tablespoons of the filling on half of the round and fold the other side over to form a half-moon. Press to seal the dough and pinch at intervals to make pleats. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds and filling. (Alternatively, start at one end, pinch one corner between your thumb and forefinger and fold it over the rim. Pinch the dough next to the fold and fold again. Continue pinching and folding to create a decorative rope rim.)
  7. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to baking but no longer than 1 day.
  8. Place the empanadas on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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About Josette@thebrookcook

I live in Stony Brook, New York on Long Island. I love garlic and baking. My hobby (and love) is to try new recipes. My favorite recipe resources include The New York Times, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, and Martha Stewart Living. Enjoy!

11 responses to “Pancetta, White Bean, & Queso Fresco Empanadas

  1. I am totally drooling! These look amazing ♥

    summerdaisy.net

  2. Oh my goodness, that filling looks so freaky good! Yes please! 🙂

  3. Love white beans cooked with pancetta but never would have thought to use them in empanadas. What a great idea!

  4. Wow drooolicious. … 🙂 🙂

  5. You know I’m a huge empanada fan and now two more tried and tested recipes! I love that you have this as a superbowl tradition!

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