Lamb Empanadas

Day PartSnack
Menu PartAppetizer/Small Plate
Cuisine TypeLatin
Lamb empanadas

Chef Alex Mandolini

Catering by Design

Denver, Colo.

These empanadas are given a twist with a filling of spiced lamb and a dip of red chimichurri sauce. Chef Alex Mandolini uses prepared empanada dough rounds to save labor, and the turnovers can be baked ahead and frozen to save time. The baked turnovers make a flavorful handheld snack for fans to enjoy while cheering on their favorite team or a festive appetizer to pass around at a future catered event. 




5 lb. ground lamb

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 med. onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp. smoked paprika

1 tbsp. dried oregano

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. cayenne

1 cup sliced green onions

1 cup golden raisins

Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

50 frozen empanada dough discs, thawed

2 eggs, beaten (for egg wash)

Red chimichurri

1 bunch cilantro

1 bunch parsley

16 oz. jarred roasted red peppers, drained

1 cup piquillo peppers, drained

1 shallot, minced

3 garlic cloves

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 tbsp. smoked paprika

½ cup olive oil

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste


  1. For empanadas: Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; saute onion and garlic in hot oil about 6 minutes or until translucent. 
  2. Add lamb, paprika, oregano, cumin and cayenne; saute until lamb is browned and fully cooked. Stir in green onions and raisins; remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Arrange empanada discs on flat work surface. Fill each with 2 tablespoons lamb filling. Brush edges with egg wash. Fold half of the round over the filled half and pinch edges together to seal; crimp edges using a fork. 
  4. Preheat oven to 375 F. Arrange finished empanadas on a parchment-lined sheet tray; brush with egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. 
  5. Meanwhile, prepare red chimichurri. In food processor, combine cilantro, parsley, peppers, shallot, garlic, vinegar and paprika; pulse until fully incorporated. Stir in oil; season with salt and pepper to taste

Photo courtesy of The American Lamb Board


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