For those who’ve been to Argentina, you’ve surely seen the country’s obsession with empanadas. From supermarkets and kiosks, to fast food eateries and even fine-dining restaurants, there’s no place that’s off limits for this local favorite. Eaten as a snack, a quick lunch or served at a communal gathering, empanadas are something you definitely want to try while visiting Argentina.
If you’ve already had your first empanada experience, you might be curious as to how to make them for yourself. Surprisingly simple, these delicious treats can be prepared using just about anything for the filling inside. Though for the sake of tradition, the recipe below corresponds to the most typical of them all, the beef empanada.
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
6 green olives, pitted and cut into slices
2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into rounds
Salt and pepper, to taste
Crushed red pepper, to taste
12 round empanada pastry wraps (pre-made)
1 glass of water (to seal pastry wraps)
1 egg- for glazing the pastry wraps
Making empanadas only takes 7 easy steps!
In a medium frying pan, heat the butter over a medium-high heat. Put the onions, sliced finely in rounds, in the pan and sauté until they start to become translucent, then add the ground beef. Cook the ground beef, chopping/stirring with a flat spatula to maintain its texture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the beef is well-done, then add the paprika, cumin, crushed red pepper and mix well.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and put the round pastry wraps on a lightly floured countertop. Using a tablespoon, put a little of the meat filling in the center of the dough. Add a slice of the olive and a piece of the hardboiled egg to each one.
To seal the empanada, you’ll need a small glass of water. Dip your index finger into the water and moisten the edge on the top half of the round pastry wrap. Fold the bottom half of the dough up until the edges meet and seal with your fingers by pressing down. You can also use a fork to seal the edges. The empanada will now have a half-moon shape.
Beat an egg in a bowl and then brush the top of each sealed empanada so that when they bake, they will have a shiny, golden coating that looks great.
Spread flour lightly over several cookie sheets, and place the finished empanadas on top. Put the empanadas in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. They will be ready when they are sizzling and golden brown on top.
Take out and eat very carefully while hot!
Other Types of Empanadas
If you’re not a meat eater, no need to worry. Empanadas are for everybody, regardless of your eating habits and taste preferences! The most obvious vegetarian option is the vegetable empanada (verdura), but other popular options include blue cheese (roquefort), caprese (tomato, basil and cheese) and corn (humita or choclo). However, there are no official rules when it comes to what goes inside an empanada, it’s totally up to the chef! Buen provecho!
Written by Will Collier