Empanar is the Spanish word for “embreaded”. It means to wrap meats, cheese, and vegetables in bread. Empanadas are beloved to have originated in Galicia in the northwest corner Spain in the early 1500s. The Spanish explorers introduced them to South America, Mexico and Latin America, where they were quickly adopted for their ability to be eaten by hand by field workers and served by street vendors.
Argentinian Beef Empanadas
- Baking pans lined with parchment paper
- Large saucepan or pot
- Medium bowl with cover
- Small bowl with water and pastry brush
- 3 packages (12 each) Puff pastry dough for turnovers/empanadas (Goya) or pie dough (like Pillsbury)
- 3 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 lb Ground beef (80%)
- 2 medium Onion, chopped
- 2 small Red peppers, seeded and chopped
- Kosher salt and coarse black pepper, to taste
- 1½ tbsp Ground cumin
- 2 tbsp Sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp Dried oregano
- ½ tsp Cayenne pepper
- 1½ cups Chicken broth
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- ½ cup Raisins
- ½ cup Green olives, pitted, rinsed, and cut in half lengthwise
- 3 large Egg Yolk in a small bowl
- 2 large Hard boiled egg, chopped (optional)
- Cook Meat – Heat ⅔ of the oil in a pot our large saucepan over high heat. Cook beef breaking it up with a spoon. In about 6-8 minutes, it will begin to brown and cook through. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a medium bowl. Leave as much fat in the pot as is possible.
- Make Filling – Reduce heat to medium and add onions, bell pepper, and remaining oil into the same pot, Stir and cook until tender but not browned, 6-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cumin, oregano, cayenne, and paprika. Cook about 1 minute more until fragrant. Add beef and its juices to the pot along with chicken stock. Stir in sugar, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in raisins and, if using, chopped eggs. Transfer to the bowl the meat was in. Adjust seasoning, cover, and chill at least 3 hours and up-to 3 days.
- Assemble – Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Leave dough out for 15 minutes before using. Arrange 6 rounds from the package on a work surface with plastic dividers under each. Place 2 tbsp filling in the middle of each. Top each with 2 olive halves and brush edges with water. Fold each in half (plastic dividers help) and pinch edges to seal. Crimp edges with the tongs of a fork. Arrange 1-inch apart on half of a parchment-lined baking pan. Brush tops with egg yolk. Repeat process until baking pan is full (12 empanadas).
- Bake – Place baking pan in oven and cook for 25 to 35 minutes until empanadas are golden brown with slightly darker edges. Rotate pan after 15 minutes. While empanadas are in oven, repeat same process with more until done. Baking trays can be added after 15 minutes. When done, serve on a tray with a salsa for dipping.
- To do in advance: Filling can be made and chilled 3 days in advance. Completed but uncooked empanadas can be done 3 months in advance and frozen. Freeze uncooked empanadas on a tray. When frozen, transfer from tray to plastic freezer bags.