The Recipe

Argentinian Beef Empanadas

As Valy Steverlynck, from Luján, Argentina, taught Lindsay Sterling in Freeport, Maine, July 2014

Makes: 12-24 depending on how big you make them
Active time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 1/2 hours

For the dough: 

6 cups flour

1 1/2 sticks butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 egg, mixed up
1 egg for egg wash at the end
two dashes salt
5-7 Tbsp cold water

Put flour, salt, the mixed egg and butter in a food processor. Pulse until course meal forms. Add 5 Tbsp water and blend briefly until the dry flour-y look is gone, but what you see is still loose, not dough-y. Try squeezing the loose pieces together. If they stick together indicating that all of it, once squeezed together, will come together into dough, then dump the loose contents onto wax paper. If they don't stick/mash together, then continue mixing in water bit by bit until it happens. Press the contents on the wax paper together into two discs, about an inch thick. Wrap the discs in wax paper and Saranwrap and refrigerate for thirty minutes. While that's chilling, make the filling. 

For the Filling: 

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil
1 onion, diced
1 lb. ground beef 
1 cup diced tomoatoes
1 Tbsp oregano
1 tsp chili flakes
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup fresh parsley, rough chopped
1/4 cup green olives, chopped
dash cayenne or hot chili powder to taste

Hardboil 2 eggs. Preheat oven to 350. Saute onions in oil. When soft, add ground beef, spices, tomatoes and salt. When beef is all the way cooked, mix in parsley, hard boiled eggs (cut into 1/4 inch pieces), green olives and raisins.

Assemble and Bake:

Generously flour counter top. Unwrap the first disc of dough and roll it out (spreading flour over the the top as needed so the rolling pin doesn't stick, and scooting flour underneath the dough with a spatula so the dough doesn't stick to the counter. When the dough is 2 mm thick, cut out circle shapes with an overturned cereal bowl or circular cutters if you have them. A good size is 4 inches in diameter. Lift up the network of dough that didn't get made into circles, and (adding a couple drops of water if necessary to help it stick to itself), knead into a ball which you can roll out again.

Put about 2 Tbsp of filling in the middle of each disc without getting any on the edges of the dough. Dipping your pointer finger in a small bowl of water, wet the edge of the disc of the dough. Fold the dough in half over the mound of filling. Squeeze the edges of dough together to seal the filling inside. Press the edges of a fork along the sealed edge (like the tines are rays shining out from the center of the packet) to make a pretty pattern. Continue making the rest of the empanadas, putting each completed packet on a sheet pan. Prick the top of each empanada with a fork. Mix up the last egg in a small bowl and brush the tops of all the empanadas with egg wash. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and shiny. Serve immediately.

Copyright Lindsay Sterling 2014