Pastelitos De Carne (Central American Meat Pies)

READY IN: 30mins




  • 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.
  • Meanwhile, In a large bowl, mix the masa harina, paprika, chicken bullion and pepper.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Heat your deep fry oil on a large frying pan on medium high heat (almost high heat).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.