Empanadas Argentinas


This is Liz Kweller’s own recipe derived from her Aunt Carmen (from Entre Ríos), her godmother Irma (from Cordoba) and her own tweaks over the years. Makes 12.

Photography by Melanie Grizzel.

Fairly difficult

Empanadas Argentinas


For 1 Batch(es)

For the dough

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 stick(s) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large egg(s)
  • 1/3 cup(s) ice water
  • 1 tablespoon(s) distilled white vinegar

For the filling

  • 1/3 cup(s) safflower or olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion(s), finely chopped
  • 1 bunch(es) green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup(s) red bell pepper, minced
  • 1 pound(s) beef
  • 1 tablespoon(s) fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon(s) cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon(s) distilled white vinegar
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup(s) pitted green olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons raisins

Empanadas Argentinas Directions

  1. For the dough:
  2. Sift the flour with the salt into a large bowl and blend in the butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal (you could also use a food processor for this).
  3. Beat together the egg, water and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to the flour mixture—stirring with the fork until just mixed.
  4. Turn out the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently with the heel of your hand once or twice—just enough to bring the dough together. Form the dough into a flat disc and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour.
  5. For the filling:
  6. Heat the oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, green onions and bell pepper to the pan and cook until golden—12 to 14 minutes.
  7. Season the beef with salt, add it to the pan and cook until browned—8 to 10 minutes. Add the oregano, paprika, cumin, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant—about 2 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat and let cool. Once cooled, gently fold in the vinegar, hard-boiled eggs, olives and raisins.  
  9. To assemble:
  10. Heat the oven to 375°. Divide the dough into a dozen 2-inch balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough balls into 5-inch circles. Place about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the filling in the center of each dough circle.
  11. Dip your finger in cold water and run your finger along the border of the empanada dough. Fold the dough in half over the filling, forming a half circle, then use your fingers to gently press and seal the edges. The wet edge creates a stronger seal so that the empanada won’t pop open in the oven.
  12. To make a decorative edge around the empanada, dog-ear one corner of the half circle. Move along the curved edge and pinch a half-inch of dough next to the dog-ear, stretching it toward you, before folding it back so it overlaps the dog-eared edge. Continue to pinch and fold the dough, slightly overlapping each previous fold, until you reach the opposite corner. This takes some practice, but once you get the hang of it you can move along quickly. Alternately, you can use a fork to crimp the edge.
  13. Place the empanadas on a baking sheet and brush the tops with a mixture of 1 beaten egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of water. Bake until golden brown—about 20 to 25 minutes.

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