Empanadas are about the best comfort food around.  I grew up eating these yummy pastries from bakeries and carts downtown.  Every country has their version of a meat pie, and I believe most Latin American ones are along these same lines.  For my wedding my family and I made 100’s of these little dears and I can’t eat one now without thinking about it! 
This particular recipe is from a military cookbook from Panama, made by the wives of the Intelligence division on the Atlantic side called “Cooking With Intelligence” (long, long, ago.) BUT, it says it’s taken from the “Interamerican Women’s Club Cookbook”- a club my grandma used to belong to in Panama.  My mom uses this one and doubles it.   I must say it’s much better than the one I used to use…


2 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup of chilled butter
1/4 cup of chilled Crisco
1 to 3 Tablespoons of water

Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl and cut in the chilled shortening and butter until it resembles a coarse cornmeal, using two knives or a pastry cutter.  Add a little water until pastry is moist enough to stick together in a ball.  Put dough in refrigerator for an hour.  Roll out dough on lightly floured board to about 1/8″ and cut with round cookie cutter or glass.  On each round of dough put a little of the filling, about 1/2 teaspoon.  Fold over and flute edges with fork.  Brush tops with beaten egg.  Bake in oven 400 degrees until golden brown.  Makes about 60 empanadas.

3/4  lb. ground pork (my mom used ground chicken and turkey)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 sweet pepper, chopped
1/4 cup of currants
1 Tablespoon of capers
10 stuffed olives, chopped
1 hard boiled egg, chopped (I’ve never added this before, and mom doesn’t either)
1 bay leaf
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 lg. ripe tomato chopped (mom used a can of diced tomatoes)
4 Tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 tsp of oregano
1/2 hot pepper (optional)
1 sprig of parsley, chopped

*Put oil in frying pan and fry meat a little.  Add ingredients and simmer for half an hour.  Salt and pepper to taste.

I’ll try and make some soon and post pictures for you!