Friday, November 11, 2011

Argentinean Empanadas

Good afternoon, sweet friends! And Happy Veteran's Day, 11.11.11! How fun?! Let's not forget to thank our Vets today for their service and commitment in sacrificing for the common good. Maybe with today's recipe, or with any recipe, you could make an extra plate and take it over to the local VA hospital or club post and just say, "thanks".... just an idea!

In celebration of the holiday, we decided to make these Argentinean empanadas... total PARTY food! And as I'm writing this, I'm eating one and having my very own private party at my computer. My folks came across this recipe not long ago when they were visiting some dear friends, Peggy and Federico. Federico is Argentinean and this is his original recipe. The only problem is that some things weren't TOTALLY clear so we may have improvised a bit. ;)

Here's what you need:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1 can of diced, crushed or stewed tomatoes- or equal amount of fresh tomatoes. We used stewed.
  • 2 or 3 beef bouillon cubes
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 handfuls of raisins... next time I think I'll try a combination of golden and regular, just because.
  • pitted black olives- if you don't have pitted, no worries, I didn't either, I just had to pit them.
  • 1 package of 20 hojaldradas para horno.... puff pastry for the oven. We ordered La Saltena brand and they come frozen from Miami so they were a little expensive... $6 for 20 I believe, plus the insane overnight shipping, because they're frozen. SO, if you can find them at a Latin American grocery, go for it, just make sure they are the FOR THE OVEN kind. If you can't find them, my mom and I are going to try them with other biscuits here in a bit and I will update you on whether they're still great or not. They'll be a little buttery tasting but still probably fabulous.

Ok here's what you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  • Finely chop your onions by hand or in a food processor, place a little olive oil in the bottom of a skillet and slowly brown the onions.

  • In another skillet, saute your beef bouillon and tomatoes, breaking apart the tomatoes as you go if you used stewed.
(by the way, that little awesome contraption is called the 'OneTouch' can opener. it's electric, you put it on and let it go and it's just amazing. takes the whole lid off. Target. buy it. worth it.)

  • Add the ground beef to the onions, lightly salt and pepper it, and stir until the meat is browned.
(aren't they a pair?) ;)
  • Drain the meat and onion mixture.
  • Place the meat and onion mixture back in it's skillet and add the bouillon tomato mixture to it. Stir!
(it helps to gently press the meat in the strainer)
  • Add the 2 handfuls of raisins.
  • Slice and chop the hard boiled eggs and add them to the skillet, mix well. Your mixture is done!

  • If you have pitted olives, cut them in half. You'll be using one whole olive in each empanada, just cut in half. If you have olives with the pits like I did, here's a little trick: You know how you soften a lemon before juicing it by rolling it with your hand or a knife? Let's do the same with the olives. Since they're so small, I used a knife, just as if I was getting ready to skin a clove of garlic... press the olive down with the knife and gently roll back and forth. It'll loosen the pit from the flesh so you can just pull the olive apart in half and easily remove the pit.
(as my husband would say, PLEASE be careful doing this)
(aren't those beautiful??)
  • Take a heaping Tablespoon of the mixture, or a little more and fill the center of the circular puff pastry. Here's what they look like, by the way.
(embarrassing photo here.. but the one of DAD stuffing them was too blurry)
  • Cinch the ends together all the way around to make a closed semi-circle.
(there. dad's cinching photo is better)
  • Place on the ungreased baking sheet and score the edges. (scoring is marking with a fork, in a design pattern usually)
(that's the classiest lookin' multi-tasking woman i've ever seen, scoring in her jammies & diamonds)
  • Bake them for 20-25 minutes, just until browned on top and you start to see the pastry make some air bubbles.
(he LOVES these)
(just about burnt my mouth but my GOSH is this good)

And there you have it! 20 GORGEOUS little puffs! These are actually very, VERY simple, once you get started. The only trick that I'm going to try and make easier on everyone are those shells. If I can suggest a Hungry Jack biscuit or another homemade dough, I will, and I'll try to update you soon so you can try these quickly! OR, if any of you are brave enough, I'll tell you right now, using the Hungry Jack or Pillsbury flaky biscuits, and broken in half, will taste great, they just won't be identical. But those packages normally come with 10 biscuits so when you peel them out, peel them in half again and you'll be in good shape. Just beware, they'll get thin so lightly flour your hands if need be.

In other news, I'm going to try something new next week, and I'm going to tell you it about THIS Friday so that NEXT Friday, you'll be prepared. There are so many times we eat out, and sometimes we have WINNING experiences and other times HORRIBLE experiences, so I'm going to try "FRIDAY FAVE or FAIL." This will be a concrete thing you can look forward to every week where I or a guest will be posting basically a restaurant review, whether it ended up being a family fave or a big time fail! Sounds harsh I know but, if I can stop you guys from eating at sub par establishments, we'll all be happy campers. ;) Thoughts?

Enjoy your Friday, everyone and HAPPY VETERANS DAY!

Veterans, Uncle Vic, WE THANK YOU!!

love you guys. xo


  1. These are AWESOME...but as you said, the empanada shells are not easy to find. If you have a Latina grocery near you, look there...since most empanadas are deep fried, these are special - made expressly for the oven...light and flaky. Great job Sid! Mouth-watering. :)

  2. Hi Sidney,

    My family is from Chile and we make these all the time so if I could give you a few suggestions:

    1. def use golden raisins! S Americans typically only cook with the golden

    2. that dough is hard to find if you don't live in a latin local grocery stores you can get frozen masa by Goys or La Argentina. Do the exact same recipe with the exception of baking them - you will fry them instead.

    3. if you put slices of mozzarella cheese and fry them - delish!

    Hope this helps!

  3. Hey Stephanie!

    Thank you so much for commenting and giving all the tips! :) I'm sure that was very helpful information for a lot of the readers!

    I actually was trying to stay totally away from deep frying, that's why I gave the option of the biscuits... i really always try to bake instead of fry, but that's personal preference so i'm glad you gave another perspective! :)