Most of the cooking and baking I create is inspiration gathered from my mother-in-laws kitchen. There was something about the meals she prepared which always seemed to satisfy your hunger. She was the kind of person who made an art of hospitality and her meals were divine. The more she practiced, the better she became at it. There was skill, passion, and love poured into every dish she prepared. You could see it and taste it.
A favored dish she made was the Argentinian beef empanadas. Oh… did she know how to prepare these! The Argentine empanadas, simply translated, are hand pies. They are crusty buttery pies filled with oodles of goodness, folded over in a crescent shape and baked to perfection.
There are many versions of empanadas and they differ from country to country and region to region. There are some stuffed with chicken, some with spinach and cheese, and others stuffed with fruit. The possibilities are endless. But today I’m going to share a version of the Argentine empanada similar to that which my mother-in-law prepared.
Empanada Crusty Dough:
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
In a small sauce pan, heat the water and butter on low/medium heat, just until butter has melted. Remove from heat. In a mixing bowl combine the flour and salt. Gradually pour the water/butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a fork. Once the mixture comes together, work the dough around with your hands to combine well (it should be a nice smooth oily dough) and place it in a large ziplock bag in the fridge for 2 hours.
1/2 green bell pepper
1/4 yellow onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cube chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp parsley
1/4 black pepper
1 lb. lean ground beef
hand full of Spanish olives, sliced
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
Begin by pureeing or blending the bell pepper, yellow onion, and garlic together. Pour the mixture into a large skillet set on low/medium heat, add the chicken bouillon, cumin, paprika, parsley, and black pepper. Mix well and add the ground beef to the seasoning mixture in the skillet. Cook until beef has cooked thoroughly and is browned. Once the beef is browned give it around 5-10 minutes allowing the seasoning to blend and marinate well with the beef. Move the cooked beef to a large bowl and add the chopped eggs and olives.
Once you’ve let the dough sit for a couple hours in the fridge and your meat mixture is ready to go let’s begin putting the empanadas together. Take the dough and divide it into 12 round balls. Before rolling out the dough roll the dough rounds in your hands to soften up the dough. Lightly flour your counter top where you’ll be rolling out the dough. Now, using a rolling pin roll out one dough round at a time into a 5 inch circle. Place three tablespoons of the meat mixture on to the center the circle dough, fold the dough circle in half making sure all the meat mixture is in place, and pinch the edges tight to close and seal the empanada. Place the empanadas on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until golden brown between 30-35 minutes.
I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!
Have you ever tried empanadas?