by catherine of fox in the pine


Risoles are a delicious Portuguese and Brazilian treat. They take a bit of time to prepare, but are well worth the effort. They can be filled with anything from cheese to vegetables to meat, but are most commonly filled with a beef and vegetable mixture. Growing up, my mom and maternal grandmother used the following recipe that uses ground beef as the main ingredient. It's a fun food to make as a family, working together to prepare a delicious treat. And, for this reason, risoles will always remind me of home. 

Ingredients for meat filling:

1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 sweet onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

Olive oil

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tomatoes, diced

1 boiled egg, diced

10 Kalamata olives, diced

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

Dash of nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions for meat filling:

Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil into a large pot. On medium heat, add the ground beef into the pot and brown while mixing. Add the chopped onions, garlic and ginger and allow to cook, adding more olive oil if necessary. Cook for about 15 minutes. Once the meat is nearly cooked through, add the chopped tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, and a dash of fresh nutmeg. Stir while cooking for the last minute or two. Once it is cooked, remove from heat and add the chopped olives, parsley and chopped boiled egg. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Note: Make sure to make the filling a bit saltier since the dough does not contain salt. 

Ingredients for dough (makes 30):

1 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon butter

4 chunks of fresh lemon peel

1 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour

1 tablespoon baking powder


In a large pot, put in the milk, water, butter and lemon peel and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the flour and baking powder. Mix with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together. Once it starts sticking into kind of a ball, remove from heat and place it on a floured surface. Knead the hot dough together for about 3 minutes. 

Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. With one part, roll the dough out until it is 1/8" thick. Use a circular cookie cutter with a 3" diameter to cut circles of dough. Spoon a tablespoon of the meat filling onto the center of the circle. Fold the two sides together and squeeze shut, making sure that there are no areas left open. Repeat this process until there is no more dough. 

Ingredients for breading:

1 egg beaten heavily

Bread crumbs

Vegetable oil

In a small bowl, heavily beat an egg so that it is smooth. In a separate bowl, pour in a cup or two of bread crumbs. One-by-one dip the pockets into the egg mixture and then into the bread crumbs mixture. Make sure to cover both sides. Repeat this process with all of the risoles. 

Note: At this point the risoles can be frozen or fried. To freeze them, put them in a tupperware container, but make sure to use wax paper so that they do not stick to the container or to each other. To fry them, read on.

Once all of the risoles have been breaded, heat up a frying pan filled with about a 1/2" of vegetable oil. To make sure the oil is hot enough, dab a corner of the dough into the oil. If it bubbles around the dough it is ready to fry. Once the pan and oil are hot enough, add a few risoles to the pan. When one side of the risole is golden, flip to fry the other. It only takes about a minute on each side. Once each side is fried and golden, remove from the oil and serve while still hot!


this post is part of the dumpling a day while i'm away guest blogger series. i'm in hong kong right now so i've gotten some awesome bloggers, photographers, and writers, to showcase delicious dumplings. if you're interested in being a dumpling guest blogger, send me a note at yeh.molly@gmail.com. yay!