Beef empanadas

In recipe on December 31, 2009 at 10:58 am

I believe I mentioned that I was taking a trip to Argentina. The trip was awesome—Buenos Aires was intense and magical, Iguaçu Falls was marvelous, and the beef was good enough to coax me from part-time to full-time carnivore (more on that later).

Whenever I travel I always marvel at how, across cultures, humanity has found culinary common ground in the form of the dumpling–be it pierogis in Eastern Europe, potstickers in China, Hot Pockets in America, and, as I discovered, the empanada in Argentina.

Far be it from me to deny the pleasures of any fried dough, but the empanadas I had there were like scrumptious little hamburgers. My friend and I especially like how easy they were to order to those who speak  minimal Spanish (“Uno, con carne por favor!”).

So last night I attempted to whip up some empanadas of my own.

This recipe comes from Real Simple magazine. I think that their use of “spiced” is a bit much, but these were pretty easy and tasty and did make great appetizers for my literary collective gathering last night.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pound ground beef (lean)
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 store-bought refrigerated rolled piecrusts
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon lime zest


  1. Preheat oven to 375º F. In medium skillet, heat the oil and cook the onions until soft (about 5 minutes or so). Add the beef , stabbing it with the spatula so the ground beef gets extra ground. Cook until beef is no longer pink (7 minutes or so). Turn off the heat and add the cinnamon, ketchup, raisins, salt and pepper. Note: I would probably put in some chili powder at this point.
  2. Use 2½-inch round cookie cutter (note: or just the lid of a jam jar) and make circles from the piecrusts. Roll out the circles a little, but work quickly because the pie dough will get sticky.  Spoon the beef mixture on the circles of dough, using a little water to moosh the edges together. Use a fork at the edges for fancytime squiggles. Put on a baking sheet and brush lightly with the egg (I did not brush lightly, and ended up with some splotchy epanadas).  Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Mix the sour cream and lime zest. Serve on the side.

Other possible fillings for empanadas:

  • For my veggie roommate, I zapped a vegan sausage and mixed with leftover mashed potatoes. She assured me it was tasty.
  • Cheese!!!!
  • Fried anything – mushrooms, peppers, onions
  • Leftover chicken in a tomato sauce

Here’s to  small fried doughy things unite us all! And Happy 2010!


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