Lamb Lover’s Empanadas

Originally posted on February 7th, 2013…

Everyone has their own special way of celebrating Valentine’s Day, be it canoodling with a significant other or baking a phallic-shaped cake decorated with the names of your men-emies…

If you’re feeling lovable this year, cooking a romantic dinner for two is another viable option.  I’ve incorporated my favorite Latin flavors into an original recipe using ground lamb courtesy of the American Lamb Board. Please try the recipe then vote for it between February 14-28, 2013 as I compete against other bloggers in the Lamb Lovers Month Recipe & Photo contest!

The dish: flaky lamb empanadas topped with a refreshing mango-avocado salsa. The sexy part: a smoky, chocolatey mole sauce for drizzling and/or smothering. While store-bought Rogelio Bueno or Goya mole sauce will suffice, try my recipe below to make this a true labor of love (though really, your boyfriend/girlfriend/roommate/cat won’t know the difference).

So por favor–vote for me, and I’ll come cook for you wearing this cute little number.

Lamb Empanadas

1 lb ground lamb2 tbsp capers, drained
½ green pepper, diced3 dried bay leaves
½ large white onion, dicedSalt and pepper to taste
3 cloves of garlic, minced1 box of frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 8-oz can tomato sauce1 egg
1 cup white wine2 tbsp water
1 handful of raisins


In a large skillet, cook ground lamb. Remove lamb from skillet, leaving about half of the grease. Saute pepper, onion, and garlic in lamb grease until translucent. Add lamb, tomato sauce, and white wine to skillet and simmer until wine is reduced by half. Add raisins, capers, bay leaves, salt and pepper and continue to simmer covered for about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves.

Beat egg and water together. Using a bowl or wide-rimmed glass, cut puff pastry into 4-5 inch circles. Spoon lamb filling onto half of the pastry circles and brush edges with water. Gently fold the pastry over and seal with a fork. Brush with egg wash and bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Mango-Avocado Salsa

1 avocado, diced1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
1 mango, dicedJuice of 1 lime
3 Roma tomatoes, dicedPinch of salt
½ red onion, dicedPinch of garlic powder

Combine and stir all ingredients in a bowl until mixed well.


Mole Sauce

1 white onion, diced4 tbsp peanut butter
3 cloves of garlic, minced1½ tsp cumin
2 tbsp olive oil1 tsp oregano
3 dried California chiles3 oz semi-sweet chocolate
3 cups chicken stockWater
3 handfuls of tortilla chips, crushed

In a large skillet, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent.

Place chiles in a covered microwave-safe container and cover with water. Microwave for 1-2 minutes then remove stems and seeds. Add chiles, onion, garlic, chicken stock, tortilla chips, peanut butter, cumin, and oregano to a blender or food processor and puree until mixed well.

Pour mixture into a large saucepan and simmer covered for 10 minutes. Add chocolate and continue to simmer covered, gradually stirring in water until desired silky texture is reached.

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Lisha Yates

Lisha is a true Virginian, bearing an unhealthy obsession with Smithfield ham and Piedmont wines. Born with an appetite for the worldly, she grew up in her potty-mouthed grandma's soulful kitchen, asked for a bread-maker on her 11th birthday, has lived in Spain, and ate a whole spit-roasted guinea pig in Ecuador.She gets creative with her own cooking, too--like beer-battered shrimp tacos made with Natty Light and pancake mix. When she's not working as a consultant, or hunting for the best cheap eats, Lisha is tweeting her dining endeavors and leisurely whereabouts (or at home eating mac n' cheese, if we're being honest).

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