Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Argentine Empanadas Made Easy.


This recipe is very easy to make. Anything goes here so there is a lot of eyeballing with the quantities. I promise you will enjoy this recipe a lot!
You can make them vegetarian or not.  There are almost infinite variations. This is the classic one. Definitely not vegetarian so please let me know in the comments if you are interested in the also very easy and tasty vegetarian recipes. I thought I would cover the basics first...


The Filling (makes about...48 empanadas)
Thinly chop the following ingredients.

spring onions: 3 or 4 stems     
onions: 6 to 8 or more! (more onions = juicer empanadas!) 
garlic: 3 cloves                         
lean red meat: 2 kilos (4.4 pounds)    

Put some olive oil and a teaspoon of butter in a heated pan. Saute the onions with the spring onions and the garlic. Add salt and pepper. While you do this add salt and pepper to the diced raw meat too. Add the chopped meat to the cooking onions in the pan. Season with oregano. You can accommodate spices to your own taste and get creative with the seasoning. In the northern part of Argentina they put a bit of cumin and it gives a very distinctive taste. I have been adding cumin to my filling and the key is to use just less than a teaspoon otherwise it will be too overpowering. You can season with paprika if you like too, I don't usually but it depends on what spices you like. Mix with a wooden spoon and let it cook until meat is brown and cooked. Done! See? I told you it was easy! :)

Now let the the mixture cool and then put it in the fridge. Plan on filling the empanadas preferably the next day or give it a couple of hours in the fridge. That way all the juices from the mixture and the onions will be easier to handle.



Once the filling is cold I usually add:

boiled eggs 
olives 

Both cut in bite size pieces. Oh! and sometimes (whenever I remember to do this...) I put 1 cubed and boiled potato. This is totally optional.

The dough

Since I lived in the U.S. for almost four years I definitely know for a fact that you can find them in the Latin markets like Farmers Market. I make empanadas every time we visit our very good American friends in Atlanta, Georgia. We bought this exact dough disks, by La SalteƱa, at the farmers market, the one on Buford Highway, this past January. 




If you can't find this ones go for any pastry disks. Or you can make the dough yourself if you want. It is a simple one made of 1 cup of flour, salt, oil and water to mix until you obtain a soft dough. Then knead and cut with a 10 to 12 cm diameter cutter. 

How to fill the empanadas

Turn on your oven and bring it to a medium heat. Have a couple of big baking sheets sprayed with oil.
Put about a tablespoon of filling on a disk of dough. Then wet your finger with water and slide it on one side of the disk. Then press and seal it. Pick up every pointy piece of dough one after the other until you end up with sort of like a chain. If that doesn't work press it with a fork and voila!!! 
Here is how you do it.







Finally, to give them this golden look paint the empanadas with one raw egg and then put them into the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes depending on your oven. The empanada is done whenever the white dough turns into a golden brown color. 



























Enjoy!!! Have you ever tried empanadas? Do you prefer vegetarian empanadas?










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