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Tico-Texan empanadas you can't miss

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Published on Friday, July 5, 2024

By Melissa Pette

There are many reasons why expats choose to reside in Costa Rica.

Every day, I make new expat friends, including Europeans and Canadians who have decided to make Costa Rica their home for good.

Some of them are surely captivated by the breathtaking tropical nature, the weather, the country's public health system, and the Tico people, who are friendly and caring, among many other reasons.

Our friends Penny and Chad Haynes are also members of this wonderful expat community who consider Costa Rica to be their adopted country.

The Haynes have permitted me to share a little part of their story.

They're from Amarillo County. However, their lives have recently become increasingly challenging.

"Please don't misunderstand us; Texas is an amazing place to live for many. However, with time, our priorities shifted," Penny stated, "My husband and I have always wanted to live somewhere with better conditions for retirees. The extreme weather, hefty property and sales taxes, awful repercussions of urbanization, limited access to cheap health care, and, yes, high crime rates in some regions were among the reasons we both chose to reside in Costa Rica."

Returning to the culinary topic, we previously cooked those tasty Tico Chiverre empanadas; in today's piece, Penny shares her recipe for Texan-baked empanadas with a Tico twist.

For those unfamiliar with empanadas, they are a Spanish dish whose name is derived from the Spanish verb "empanar," which means "to wrap or cover with bread."

Empanadas come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The dough is easy and simple to make. Empanadas can be made in a half-moon shape or a plate size, but regardless of form and size. These are an excellent addition to our cook's collection.

So, let's go to the kitchen!

For 10 to 15 empanadas, the ingredients are:

  • 5 grams yeast.

  • Pinch of salt.

  • 100 grams butter.

  • 30 milliliter warm milk.

  • 150 grams flour.

  • 1 egg yolk.

  • Pinch of sugar.

  • 1 clove garlic.

  • Salt for seasoning.

  • 2 tablespoon creme fraiche.

  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley.

  • Pepper for seasoning.

  • 1 small diced white onion.

  • 1 small diced red sweet pepper.

  • 200 grams of ground beef.

  • 1 egg.

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste.

  • teaspoon Lizano sauce (the tico version).

First, mix the milk, sugar, and yeast in a bowl. Then, set the flour in a bowl and make a well in the center.

Add the yeast mixture, egg yolk, and butter into the flour. Knead the dough until it comes into a smooth ball. Chill the dough overnight if you want.

After that, saute garlic and onions in a pan. Add the pepper and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the beef and saute until brown. Season with salt, pepper and Lizano. Then, mix in the egg, creme fraiche, tomato paste, and parsley.

Roll out the dough and cut it into 4 or 6-inch circles with a pastry cutter. Spoon the filling into the center of your dough.

Fold the filled dough close and seal by crimping or
by pressing on the edges with a fork.

Another option is pleating. Starting from one end, fold the pastry over onto the rim to create a pleat. Without moving your fingers, pinch to make the pleat stay in place and also to make the part of the pastry where the next pleat will be a bit thinner which makes it easier to pleat. Keep repeating until you finish at the end.

Preheat the oven to 350F (or 175C). Arrange the empanadas on a baking sheet. Brush the empanadas with egg wash. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

And there, you made it!

These yummy empanadas are a great snack, a light lunch or a starter for a meal. Try it; you will not be disappointed. I promise!

Have a "Pura Vida Pride" weekend!

Everyone is invited to share their recipes with a horizontal photo of the dish by emailing More Costa Rica's delightful recipes can be found on the AM Costa Rica Food page.



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