Beef Empanadas

I’ve been on vacation this week. Just hanging out at the homestead, attending to a couple of appointments, working on house stuff and generally just being a slug. I believe everyone needs time like this. It’s also given me a chance to do some cooking that I typically don’t get to do during the week.

Earlier this week I tried making cheese. I didn’t write up a post about it because frankly, it didn’t turn out as I’d hoped. I tried twice and instead of getting mozzarella I got ricotta. Tastes great, but I’m bummed that I didn’t get the results I wanted. I’ll try it again soon – stay tuned.

Today I decided to make beef empanadas. Man oh man, I love those little crispy pockets of flavor. Sweet and savory at the same time – a winning combo! Paired with a nice crisp, hoppy beer and a green bean salad. Yum! Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Beef Empanadas

  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3/4 pound ground beef chuck
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
  • 1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving 2 tablespoons juice, and chopped
  • empanada dough (recipe follows)
  • About 4 cups vegetable oil
  • a deep-fat thermometer

Cook onion in olive oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, paprika and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in beef and cook, breaking up lumps with a fork, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

Add raisins, olives, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and tomatoes with reserved juice, then cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced but mixture is still moist, about 5 minutes. Spread on a plate to cool.

Beef mixture ready to cool.

Preheat oven to 200°F with rack in middle.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. On a lightly floured worksurface roll each piece of dough into a disc approximately 6″ in diameter.  Place 3 tablespoons meat mixture on disk. Moisten edges of disk with water and fold over to form a semicircle, then crimp with a fork. Make more empanadas in same manner.

Pastry rolled out and beef mixture ready to go.

Empanada folded and crimped.

Heat 3/4 inch vegetable oil in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat until it registers 360°F on thermometer. Fry empanadas, 2 or 3 at a time, turning once, until crisp and golden, 4 to 6 minutes per batch.

Everybody into the pool! Make sure your oil is hot enough so they don’t get soggy.

Transfer to a shallow baking pan and keep warm in oven. Return oil to 360°F between batches.

Empanadas can be brushed with oil and baked on an oiled baking sheet in a 425°F oven until golden, about 10 minutes. (They will not be as crisp as fried empanadas.)

Empanadas with a side of fresh green beans with olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar. Lovely dinner!

Empanada Dough

  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Sift flour with salt into the bowl of a food processor, add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.

Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture and pulse until dough just holds together.

Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together. Form dough into a flat rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour.

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About Eileen Dominick Long

Diva, dog lover, and main squeeze to the Dude.
This entry was posted in Main Dishes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Beef Empanadas

  1. I am definitely trying these next week!

  2. Pingback: Butternut Squash Empanadas « The Domestic Diva

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