Pisillo is a dish typical of the Venezuelan plains made with local meats, although on the coast, Pisillo is made with fish instead. The name pisillo comes from the method used to shred the meat by smashing it (pisar) with a rock. This halibut pisillo makes the perfect filling for empanadas.
- For the Fish:
- 1-pound halibut burger meat
- 1/2 white onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- Fresh oregano & tarragon
- 1 tablespoon salt
- For the Pisillo:
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 bunch of fresh herbs (cilantro, oregano, tarragon), minced
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon annatto powder (optional)
- 1/2 cup fish stock
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- For the Empanadas:
- 1 (14 ounce) package frozen pie crust (2 crusts), thawed
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- 1 egg
Cook the Fish
In a small saucepan add the halibut burger meat with onion, garlic, fresh herbs, and salt. Cover with water and cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. Strain the fish, discard the aromatics, set ½ cup of the fish stock aside, and reserve the rest for another use. Let the fish cool slightly, using a clean kitchen towel, wring the fish taking out all the
moisture and shred.
Make the Pisillo
In a medium skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add diced onion, minced garlic, diced peppers, and minced herbs. Cook stirring occasionally until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Push the vegetables to the side, add ketchup and cook until it bubbles, about 1 minute. Stir in the shredded halibut, add spices, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add reserved ½ cup of fish stock and cook until absorbed, about 3-5 minutes. Turn the heat off and let cool slightly.
Make the Empanadas
Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven at 400F. Dust your working surface with flour, roll out the pie crust using a rolling pin to extend the dough. Using a 4-inch round cutter or bowl, cut out round discs and keep them separate by using parchment paper in between. To assemble the empanadas, roll out each disc to about 4.5-inch circle. Place about a tablespoon of the halibut pisillo in the center of the disc. Fold it over and seal the dough by pressing it together with a fork. Place in the prepared baking sheet. You might need to bake in batches or use more than one baking sheet.In a small bowl beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the egg wash over the empanadas. Bake at 400F for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
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with Sujhey Beisser
Chef and blogger Sujhey Beisser demonstrates how to make halibut empanadas.
Know Your Cook
Sujhey Beisser is a food blogger and personal chef located in Madison, WI. She’s originally from Venezuela, and learned to cook watching her mother, grandmother, and aunts in the kitchen. Sujhey’s approach to food is all about drawing the best out of fresh, local and sustainable ingredients. Follow along with Sujhey's cooking on her blog or on instagram at @5sensespalate for more inventive, fresh, and seasonal recipes!