Traditional Beef Empanadas from Argentina

In these last several posts we are exploring traditional dishes of Argentina.

My family and I were born in Argentina and immigrated to the United States in the late 70’s and one of my earliest memories as a child in Southern California was going to the grocery store. Everything looked and smelled so differently than what I was accustomed to in Argentina. The grocery store, along with everything else appeared so large to me. I was used to going to the bakery to pick up fresh bread for my family daily and we went to a deli for our lunch meats and cheeses, a butcher for our meat, and a grocer for our produce. Yes, there are huge grocery stores where we lived but most people just shop and support their neighborhood businesses.

I’ve got to say that I still miss the scent of warm fresh bread coming from the bakery down the street. There’s nothing like it!

There’s something that always takes me back to my childhood in Argentina and in Southern California, and that is Empanadas, especially Beef Empanadas. They can filled with beef, chicken, spinach, creamed corn, ham and cheese, and sometimes sweet ones can be found. But the traditional empanada is filled with ground beef, green Spanish olives, chopped shard boiled eggs, and raisins. You can leave out any of these toppings if you choose. We don’t like raisins in our empanadas, so I leave them out for my family.

The dough for the empanada can be homemade but any Latino market will carry empanada dough. They are cut into circles and ready to use. You can also stick up and store the dough in your freezer. The brand I found here in Boise is Goya, but there are other brands too. As long as it says “Tapas para Empanadas” on the label, you are good to go!

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I love to use my stone for baking because there is no need to grease anything and everything cooks evenly.

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Serve warm or cold. Empanadas can be served as a main dish with a salad or other vegetable or as an appetizer.

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Traditional Beef Empanadas from Argentina

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (Empanada dough) Found at Latino markets
  • 2 lbs. Ground beef. (Not too lean, you need some moisture and fat for this recipe)
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ red bell pepper. Diced
  • 1/2 tbl cumin
  • 1 tbl sweet paprika (pimenton)
  • Salt to taste
  • Green Spanish olives
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
Sautee your onions and red bell pepper for about 5 minutes.
Add ground beef and brown for a few minutes, then add minced garlic.
After everything is combined well add cumin and paprika and salt to taste.
Open dough package and lay out discs on your counter.
Spoon 2-3 tbl of filling onto center of discs. Then top with egg and olives.
Fold over and seal. You can use your fingers or a fork to seal and mark your dough with fork marks.
Fry at about 375 degrees for 3 minutes or until golden brown.
*Healthier method is to bake your empanadas at 350 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Both ways are delicious. Fried empanadas are the traditional way to cook them in Argentina. I grew up eating the baked ones, which many people do to cut down on fat.

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