Monday, May 19, 2008

Learning how to make Empanadas

This is María, my host mother, teaching me how to correctly fold up these Argentine delicacies.
This recipe is changed depending on the tastes of the family. Essentially this is the basic outline that is adjusted to taste:

Empanadas de Carne

  • Ground beef
  • Onions, diced
  • Hard Boiled Eggs, chopped
  • Raisins, white raisins are the more traditional (los pasos)
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika (pimenton dulce)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin (comino)
  • Salt to taste.
  • * I would add black pepper to adjust it a bit more to the American palate. Argentines usually use exclusively white pepper and they don't like spicy food. I often times add pepper so that it tastes seasoned to me. It's not 100% Argentine, but I know I have purchased them before at different places with pepper in the meat mixture.
  • **Pizza spice (espica pizza) This is something she only adds sometimes. I think if I were substituting I would whip out a mix of oregano, basil, and seasoned salt.
Chop onion and egg finely. Begin by sweating the onions with a bit of butter or oil. Add beef and brown with salt (and pepper). After its browned, add chopped egg and raisins. Also add the spices and let heat for 10 mins for the flavors to permeate. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.

Since this is a recipe many people cook here, the seasonings are always adjusted to taste. I suggest that you experiment with this to find a spice mixture that's appealing to you.

Let mixture cool until its warm and fill in empanada shells. I don't have a recipe for them now, but I will be getting one of them soon :-D
Here is a close up of the folding process. You'll see how important it is to pinch the dough to seal the empanada following up with creasing the empanada with this scalloped edge.
You can substitute chicken breast for the ground beef. If you do this I suggest cooking the chicken breast in a little water and with chopped peppers (red or green). Remove the peppers and allow chicken breasts to cool. Shred the chicken breasts with a fork, and follow the same recipe for the traditional "carne" empanadas.

These empanadas I made all by myself. María prefers to cook them twice. This is the first stage.
I hope this won't be the last empanada post. I hope to dig up some more recipes and fill you in on my experiments along the way, too.

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Anonymous said...

I am SO hungry now! Those empanadas look amazing!!! XXX, Rebecca

Anonymous said...

So do you bake the empanadas? What do you mean by their being cooked twice? Looks interesting. Very different ingredients from the Colombian empanadas which I grew up with.

neagley said...

Jigraknits, María does bake the empanadas twice. I guess I didn't make this the clearest in my recipe. She does this because she cooks them about 90% and freezes them. When she wants to eat them, she thaws them and cooks them the rest of the way in the oven again.

I can't give you an oven temperature, because María just blasts the oven as high as the oven goes. jeje...I think there's room for some differences.

Also, whenever you're going to eat them, you easily could brush some butter or egg whites on the tops of the empanadas to make them get more golden.

Let me know if you have more questions...I have several experts here that I can ask :)

Also, what did you put in your Colombian empanadas? I'm very intrigued...