How To Make Authentic Pastelillos
How To Prepare Beef and Vegetable Mixture
Prepare all the ingredients and heat up the pot and add in the ground beef. Break down the beef with a wooden spatula or spoon to help it cook evenly. Add in the seasonings and cook the beef until it starts to brown. Always scrape down the bottom and sides of the pot to avoid burnt beef. When your beef is cooked well and browned, add in the chopped vegetables and stir. Add the potato with the tomato sauce, cover and let the mixture simmer just until the potatoes are fork tender.
How To Assemble Pastelillos
Place your dough on a flat surface with parchment paper and put some beef and vegetable mixture in the middle of the dough. Fold the dough towards you, creating a half moon then using your finger, press down the edges. To seal properly, use a fork and press down the edges to secure the beef filling. You are now ready to cook your authentic pastelillos.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Ground Beef - this versatile meat is excellent for this recipe not just for the ease of eating but also for its fat content which adds great flavor to every bite.
- Sofrito Sauce - a traditional Spanish sauce that is packed with vibrant and rich flavors that works as an aromatic base for the beef mixture.
- Adobo Seasoning - for more flavor and umami to the beef and vegetable mix. You can use store-bought adobo seasoning, one of the popular brands is Goya.
- Sazon Seasoning - just like the adobo seasoning, sazon seasoning adds flavor to this recipe. Sazon also has achiote that adds the red color to the dish.
- Tomato Sauce - aside from its flavor and acidity, tomato sauce will act as the liquid for this recipe and will help all the ingredients to combine all their flavors. You can also use tomato puree as a substitute for this.
- Pastry Dough - it is recommended that you choose a dough that works great for empanadas, these are a little bit thicker and not the flaky-type of dough. You can usually find discos in grocery stores with other ready-made doughs.
Tips & Suggestions
- You can add in some cheese to these Puerto Rican pastelillos. If adding cheese, you can use shredded Monterey jack and sprinkle it on top of the beef and vegetable mixture.
- Take out the pack of dough discs from the freezer and thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. If you don’t have enough time, take it out at the counter and check from time to time when it’s defrosted. It will be very difficult to work with frozen dough since you will need to fold it.
- When frying, do not overcrowd the pan as this will drop the oil temperature and will affect the browning and crisping of your pastelillos.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is softrito?
Sofrito literally translates to “to lightly fry”. There are many different variations from different regions but sofrito is an aromatic base consisting of vegetables, herbs and spices.
Can you cook pastelillos in an air-fryer?
Most definitely, yes! They may not taste like the authentic pastelillos but they sure will be healthier since there will be no deep frying involved. Brush some oil on the air-fryer basket before putting in the prepared empanadas. Make sure to place them in a single layer without overcrowding them. Flipping is optional but not necessary. Your pastelillos can cook from 5 to 12 minutes depending on the size, temperature, and its thickness.
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