When I was in college, I met this boy. He was cute, funny, sweet and attentive. I was completely head over heels in love with him within the first 5 minutes of our first date.
“I knew like ya know about a good melon.” — When Harry Met Sally
After a short time, I knew things were serious. Spend-the-rest-of-our-lives-together serious.
Boy was I in trouble. Sometimes I wonder if someone should have hit me over the head with a shoe and told me to run in the opposite direction. Especially when this particular boy said to me, “I am going to be spending 6 months in Argentina. And I’m leaving in 2 months. Oh, and by the way, we’re going to get married and move to Japan for 3 years.” Yep, shoulda put my running shoes on at that point.
Of course I am talking about the boy who turned into the man I married. And I am still head-over-heels in love with him. Glad I left my running shoes in the closet.
Stick with me…I’ll get to the real point of this post very soon. But just to tide you over…
I gave you that “background info” because it explains how and why I ended up making these Argentine Empanadas. When hubs (or boyfriend at the time) told me he was spending 6 months in Argentina I knew it would be difficult. I also knew I had to go visit him. Duh! So he left in February. Fast-forward to June, the day after my college graduation, and I was on a plane by myself to Argentina.
AND I happened to be sitting next to a guy from Texas who wanted to tell me all about his dog named Booger. Yeah. Like the ones from your nose.
To make a long story short, Brad and I spent 2 weeks traveling around Argentina. Most of our time was spent in Mar del Plata and Buenos Aires where we enjoyed a lot of wonderful food. Empanadas became a favorite food for both of us in Argentina and I have not had them since then. (And no, I will not tell you how long it’s been…)
Last weekend I decided it was time to try making my own empanadas. I was determined to figure out the sweet and savory filling found in Argentina. The combination of ingredients here may seem strange at first, but trust me when I say that the flavors meld together to create delectable flavors and texture contrasts. Brad took a few for lunch today and his reaction was, “They are as good or better than any I had in six months in Argentina. You can quote me on that one! Flaky, slightly sweet, savory/rich filling. Oh my gosh.”
So, I hope that sentiment from Brad will help give you a little push to try these out! You can double the recipe and do everything through the last step and freeze them for later use. Just wrap them in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag! Thaw ’em out, bake ’em up, and they are a great last-minute party snack.
Makes 1 dozen empanadas
2 T olive oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup pitted green olives, roughly chopped
1/3 cup raisins
2 boiled eggs, chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
black pepper and salt to taste
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, green onion, garlic, raisins and olives. Cook until the onion and garlic are soft and fragrant. Add the ground beef and brown thoroughly. Stir in the soy sauce and water. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring the mixture to prevent burning. Season with salt and pepper, transfer the filling to a large bowl and allow to cool while you make the dough. When the filling is cool, stir in the boiled egg.
Dough (adapted from Asian Dumplings cookbook):
2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
4 tablespoons shortening
5 tablespoons butter, chilled and diced
1 egg yolk (save the white to brush the dough before baking) mixed w/6 tablespoons water
In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar (if using honey, mix the honey together w/the egg yolk and water.)
Add the shortening and butter and use your fingers to break it into tiny crumbles (very important that this is done well! If you have a food processor, use that…I don’t, so I use what God gave me!)
Add the egg/water/honey mixture to the dry ingredients and mix with a fork until the dough comes together in a mass. Ditch the fork and use your hands to gently kneed the dough into a smoothish ball. Don’t do this for too long, just long enough to create a nice ball of dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator when thoroughly chilled. On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a thick, small rectangle and cut in half. Working with one half of dough at a time, continue to roll the dough into a larger rectangle until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Using a circular cookie cutter, cut out section of dough and set aside. Do the same with the other half of dough.
Take each cut out circle and roll it out so it is thin, but not so thin you can see through it. Put about 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of the dough circle and seal the edges. Place the filled empanada on a lined baking sheet. Lightly whisk your reserved egg white. Before placing in the oven, brush the top of each empanada with the egg white.
Bake at 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.