Swiss Chard Empanadas

  • Active Time 25m
  • Total Time 2h 25m

Makes twelve 3-inch empanadas; serves 6

The turnovers of Mexico, empanadas are stuffed with all kinds of vegetables, including squashes, mushrooms and the chard used here. Be sure to use plenty of chard and season it well. You'll want to make a large batch of empanadas when you have the time, then store them well wrapped in the freezer for up to several weeks.


  • For Dough:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup lard or unsalted butter, chilled
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • About 1/3 cup ice water
  • For Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 bunches Swiss chard, about 1 pound total weight, trimmed, leaves cut into small pieces and stems cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3/4 cup grated Cotija, Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated asadero, Manchego, Monterey Jack or other good melting cheese
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • 1 egg, beaten, for glaze
  • Freshly cracked pepper


FOR DOUGH: In a bowl, combine the flour, lard, butter and salt. Mix lightly with your fingers until the mixture forms pea-sized pieces. Using a fork, stir in the ice water, a little at a time, until a dough forms, and then knead lightly until it comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.

FOR FILLING: In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, salt and pepper and sauté until the onion is soft and begins to turn lightly golden, 7-10 minutes. Add the chard stems and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add the chard leaves and cook, stirring, until tender, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Add the cheeses and lime juice and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

TO ASSEMBLE: On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough about 1/8 inch thick. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 12 rounds. Place about 2 tablespoons of the filling on one-half of each round, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Dampen the edges of the dough with a little of the egg glaze, then fold the dough over to enclose the filling. Seal the edges by pressing firmly with the tines of a fork. Arrange the empanadas on a tray, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days before baking.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Place the empanadas on a baking sheet. Brush the tops with the egg glaze and sprinkle with cracked pepper. Using a sharp knife, cut 2 or 3 small slits in the top of each empanada to allow steam to escape.

Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 2176

nutrition information per serving

513 calories; 35g total fat; 87mg cholesterol; 762mg sodium; 38g carbohydrates; 3g fiber; 13g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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