Since opening his first restaurant in 2005, Chef Jose Garces has emerged as one of America’s most talented chefs and restaurateurs. Today, the Garces Group operates 15 highly successful restaurants—each imparting Jose’s passion for Latin cuisine that catapulted him into the realm of celebrity. But the magic of Jose’s regional dishes doesn’t just come from the kitchen. His sustainable 40-acre farm, Luna, supplies his East Coast restaurants with organic vegetables, fruits, eggs, and honey. Luna Farm also plays a central role in educating children about the nutritional benefits of organic, sustainably grown food, as well as healthy meal preparation.

From Jose Garces’ The Latin Road Home

When forming the empanadas, make sure the edges are well sealed so they don’t leak while frying. You can roll and crimp the edges a few times to help ensure that they’re closed up tightly.


1. To make the dough, sift the flour, salt, and sugar together in a bowl. Use a pastry blender to cut the vegetable shortening into the dry ingredients until it is fully incorporated. Add the egg yolk and mix well. Adding 2 or 3 tablespoons at a time, knead in the water with your hands until a smooth dough forms. Pat the dough into a round, flat disk and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate it for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day before making the empanadas.

2. To assemble the empanadas, divide the chilled dough into a dozen 1-inch balls. Using a manual tortilla press, a rolling pin, or the heel of your hand, press each dough ball into a circle about ⅛ inch thick and about 6 inches in diameter. Mound about 2 tablespoons of cheese in the center of each round and fold the dough over to form a half-moon. Use a dinner fork to crimp the outer edge. Alternatively, use a plastic empanada press from a Latin market.

3. To cook the empanadas, heat the oil to 350°F in a stockpot, using a candy or deep-fry thermometer to monitor the temperature. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Fry the empanadas in batches until they are golden brown and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes each, turning once in the oil. Drain them on the baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar before serving with pickled onions and ají on the side.

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