Meat Empanadas

Yield: 15 – 20 empanadas, depending on the size

Time: 90 minutes

Empanadas, also called Empanadillas (the diminutive), are one of my favorite finger foods and have a sure presence in my parties. They are found all over Spain and in the Americas. They have a variety of fillings, veggies or meats prepared in the local tradition, fried or baked. Nedless to say, all are delicious. They are best eaten warm but also good cold.

Ingredients:

US MeasuresMetric

Dough:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or more if needed

Filling:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 cup carrot dices, frozen are fine
  • 1/2 cup peas, frozen are fine
  • 2 Tbsp flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped
  • egg wash (2 eggs beaten, with one teaspoon water)

Dough:

  • 120 ml olive oil
  • 120 ml dry white wine
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 240 g all-purpose flour or more if needed

Filling:

  • 450 g ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 105 g finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 70 g diced red pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 240 ml beef stock
  • 70 g carrot dices, frozen are fine
  • 115 g peas, frozen are fine
  • 2 Tbsp flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped
  • egg wash (2 eggs beaten, with one teaspoon water)

Preparation:

Dough:

In a large bowl, mix oil, white wine and salt. Wisk all together and gradually work in enough flour to make a smooth dough that does not stick to the bowl or you hands. Add more flour if necessary and knead it briefly. Let it rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature covered with plastic wrap.

Filling:

While the dough is resting prepare the beef filling. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Cook beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer beef to a bowl leaving as much fat in the pan as possible. Scrape the pan bottom to obtain the nice brown bits. Reduce heat to a medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook onions until translucid, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper and cook for 5 minutes longer. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, paprika and oregano, and tomato paste. Continue cooking for about 2 minutes longer. Add the beef together with the accumulated juices, the beef stock, diced carrots and peas to the saucepan. Cook for 15 minutes longer or until carrots are tender and the sauce has reduced quite a bit but is not dry. Set aside on a plate to cool off.

Empanadas:

When ready to use, roll out the dough in smaller portions which are easier to handle. Roll each piece as thinly as you can. Cut rounds with a 4-inch (10 cm) cookie cutter. Reserve the dough scraps and gather them in a ball and roll out again. Do not waste any dough.

Preheat the oven at 350°F (180°C).

Place the cut rounds on parchment paper and cover it with a kitchen towel until ready to fill with the beef mixture. When all dough is used, start the filling process. Put a generous tablespoon of beef filling in the center of each disk. Brush the edges of the dough disk with the egg wash. Bring the opposite sides of the disk together making a half-moon shaped pie. Pinch the edges together with the tines of a fork to seal it. Be careful not to allow beef filling to run outside the disk. Place empanadillas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush empanadillas top with the egg wash and bake in for about 30 minutes or until golden on the top.

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