Useable Waste

Beef and Pork Empanadas


I’m in my fourth week at CSN culinary school. One of the things I have learned so far is to chop mirepoix, this is a mixture of carrots, celery and onion that kitchens use on an everyday basis.  There are sixteen people in my class so at the end of the day that we learned to chop we had vats of carrot, celery, onion and potato. Chef calls this usable waste. At college the usable waste goes to the Salvation Army. After learning how to chop we were told to go home buy a bag of potatoes and practice. Rondelle, Batonnet, Julienne and Tourne Oh my! The different shapes and sizes of each can be a real challenge in itself but then there is the question of what to do with all the stuff you just copped to oblivion? What to do with the usable waste at home?


Well mashed potatoes and potato pancakes were defiantly on the menu for a few days and I threw most of the carrots and celery in the juicer. But then at the request from Ryan my fiancé I made one of his favorite’s empanadas. These crispy delights only required a few extra ingredients so off to fry land I went.



1 large potato, small dice

3 carrots, small dice

2 small onion, small dice

3 garlic cloves, minced

½ lb ground beef

½ lb ground pork

½ cup beef broth, low sodium

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 quart canola or peanut oil, for frying


3 cups flour, plus a little more for kneading

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold water

1 egg

1 egg white

1 teaspoon vinegar

3 unsalted butter, cold

Egg Wash

1 egg

2 tablespoons water, mix together


First brown the meat in a large pot. Once the meat is done add the potato, carrots, onion and garlic, cook till tender. Then add your beef broth, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Let this simmer till some of the broth has reduced. Take the pot off the heat and let this cool while you get your dough together.

Now I must tell you to do yourself a favor and use store bought pie dough instead of making your own dough. It will save you lots of time and it tastes just as good as home-made dough. Trust me why waste time making dough when you’re going to fry it anyhow. Sadly my store was out of pie dough so I had to make my own but believe me I would much rather have not!

If you choose to make your own dough then here is how you do it. Mix the egg, egg white, vinegar and water together and set aside. Now in a separate bowl sift the flour and salt together and cut the cold butter into it. You can do this using a food processor or a pastry cutter. Next mix the wet ingredients with the dry and wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest in the fridge for thirty minutes.

Anyway, store bought or not, roll your dough out to about ¼ inch thick, Then using a 4 inch round cookie cutter (you can also use the rim of a glass) cut out your dough rounds. Now taking one round at a time brush with the egg wash and fill with about two tablespoons of your filling and use a fork to seal the edges closed. Continue until all the dough is used.


Now all that’s left is to fry these babies. Take a medium size pot filled about half way with oil and bring it up to temperature. You can test your oil by putting a small piece of dough in it, if the dough floats to the top and bubbles you know it’s ready. You only want to fry two or three empanadas at a time to avoid bringing the temperature of the oil down too much. Fry till golden brown and place on a paper towel to cool. I like to finish each with a little salt.


Enjoy eating hot or room temp, my fiancé loves eating them for breakfast!

P.S. you can use all beef or all pork if you want; I just like the combination of the two.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s