Pastelitos De Carne (Central American Meat Pies)

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“*** THIS IS MY VERSION OF THE RECIPE. PLEASE KEEP THAT IN MIND BEFORE COMPARING IT. IT'S ALSO HELPFUL TO ACTUALLY MAKE THE RECIPE*** My family enjoys these little cakes. I usually cut them in half, place on top of shredded cabbage and either drizzle a little bit of Sarita's All Purpose Tomato Sauce on top or serve it on the side as a dipping sauce. A tortilla press makes the process of flattening the cakes easier. If you do not have one you can just use a rolling pin but just place the masa ball inbetween two sheets of parchment paper to prevent it from sticking to the rolling pin. If you do not have the chicken bullion then you will have to add extra salt and the taste will not be the same. I recommend making and frying one meat pie before making the rest just to make sure that the thickness of the masa is good and not to thick that the masa inside is raw when fried.”
10-12 meat pies

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. On medium high in a large pan, cook the ground beef and drain extra fat. To the cooked beef, add in the rice, cilantro and salt to taste. Cook for about 2 more minutes to heat thru. Set aside and let cool for about 7-10 minute.
  2. Meanwhile, In a large bowl, mix the masa harina, paprika, chicken bullion and pepper.
  3. Using a Pastry blender or fork, cut the lard into the masa mix until the masa is crumbly and the lard is pea size or smaller.
  4. Add the warm water, 1 cup at a time, to the masa and using your hands, mix well until the water is fully incorperated. The masa should not be sticky or dry. If it is sticky add a little bit more masa (1 tspn at a time) or if it is dry add water (1 tbspn at a time).
  5. Rub a little bit of cooking oil into your hands to make the following step easier. Take out about 2 table spoons of masa and roll into a ball. Using a tortilla press or a rolling pin, make the ball into the size of tortilla but be careful not to roll out to thin. The thickness has to be twice as thick as a tortilla or about the thickness of a pita bread. If it is too thin, the pies will not hold when you stuff them.
  6. Heat your deep fry oil on a large frying pan on medium high heat (almost high heat).
  7. Place rolled out dough on a flate surface and add about 2 tablespoons of the beef mixture in the middle. Close in half (creating the shape of a meat pie or half moon). Seal in edges with your fingers and creat small indintations with the end of a fork all around the edge of the pie.
  8. Before frying, test oil readiness by dropping a small piece dough into the oil. If it automatically sizzles and floats to the top, it is ready. Carefully slide in meat pies into the hot oil and cook about 3-4 minutes per side or until deep golden brown.
  9. Drain very well on paper towels. You can also slightly press a paper towel against the fried pies to remove excess oil. You can serve whole over a bed of shredded green cabbage or cut in half and serve Sarita's All purpose Tomato Sauce on the side.

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