Argentine Empanadas

by Tokyo Terrace on November 4, 2009

empanadamontageWhen 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…

empanadasclosed4

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…)

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Did I mention that he proposed in Argentina? What a sneaky guy...

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.

Argentine Empanadas

Makes 1 dozen empanadas

Filling:

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.

Assembly:

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.

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  • thewhitesintokyo

    Definitely…agreed.

    -Husband of the blogger-in-chief

  • thewhitesintokyo

    Hey T & A,

    So good to hear from you guys and read about some of your adventures in Japan. It sounds like we are both living pretty parallel lives. Are you in Tokyo or elsewhere? What are you up to here?

    Keep blogging- I’m starting to fade out on my Japan blog after a year and a half, but it’s so nice to have when you get back!

    Keep in touch,
    Brad (“hubs”)

  • thewhitesintokyo

    Hey T & A,

    So good to hear from you guys and read about some of your adventures in Japan. It sounds like we are both living pretty parallel lives. Are you in Tokyo or elsewhere? What are you up to here?

    Keep blogging- I’m starting to fade out on my Japan blog after a year and a half, but it’s so nice to have when you get back!

    Keep in touch,
    Brad (“hubs”)

  • thewhitesintokyo

    Sara, you officially made Rachael’s week with that comment. Keep in touch and thanks again for stopping by. :)

    -Brad

  • thewhitesintokyo

    Sara, you officially made Rachael’s week with that comment. Keep in touch and thanks again for stopping by. :)

    -Brad

  • thewhitesintokyo

    Gracias por tu mensaje! Tenemos ganas de volver a Mar del Plata en unos anos para celebrar un aniversario. Hay un restaurante al lado del mar en que comimos (medialunas con jugo fresco…) cada manana durante nuestro visito y quiero comer alli otra vez!

    Saludos de Japon!
    Brad

  • thewhitesintokyo

    Gracias por tu mensaje! Tenemos ganas de volver a Mar del Plata en unos anos para celebrar un aniversario. Hay un restaurante al lado del mar en que comimos (medialunas con jugo fresco…) cada manana durante nuestro visito y quiero comer alli otra vez!

    Saludos de Japon!
    Brad

  • thewhitesintokyo

    As husband of the blogger, I can definitely say these are just as good without the raisins…because I’m not a fan either and she made half the batch without them just for me!

  • thewhitesintokyo

    As husband of the blogger, I can definitely say these are just as good without the raisins…because I’m not a fan either and she made half the batch without them just for me!

  • thewhitesintokyo

    Thanks for the sweet note, Pat. We miss that son of yours a whole lot and yes, he certainly was instrumental in helping me track down the beautiful woman at the helm of Tokyo Terrace. Keep in touch and thanks for stopping by!

    -Brad

  • thewhitesintokyo

    Thanks for the sweet note, Pat. We miss that son of yours a whole lot and yes, he certainly was instrumental in helping me track down the beautiful woman at the helm of Tokyo Terrace. Keep in touch and thanks for stopping by!

    -Brad

  • thewhitesintokyo

    Sounds just like my Spanish classes before I went to Argentina! Let us know how they are now that you’re trying it without mom’s help. :)

    -Brad

  • thewhitesintokyo

    Sounds just like my Spanish classes before I went to Argentina! Let us know how they are now that you’re trying it without mom’s help. :)

    -Brad

  • thewhitesintokyo

    Also, I see you’re from CO? I was born and raised in Golden…

    Awesome.

  • thewhitesintokyo

    Also, I see you’re from CO? I was born and raised in Golden…

    Awesome.

  • http://onefoodguy.blogspot.com/ Scott

    These sound fantastic! I love empanadas and certainly don’t eat them enough. I’m a big fan of the Scottish version as well, the pasty!

  • http://onefoodguy.blogspot.com Scott

    These sound fantastic! I love empanadas and certainly don’t eat them enough. I’m a big fan of the Scottish version as well, the pasty!

  • tokyoterrace

    Scott: I’m glad you like the look of these! Hopefully you will have time to make them- they keep really well in the freezer, so you can have them around whenever you want!

  • tokyoterrace

    Scott: I’m glad you like the look of these! Hopefully you will have time to make them- they keep really well in the freezer, so you can have them around whenever you want!

  • Francisco

    Greetings from Argentina!! i’m from Chubut a patagonian province of Argentina, i was looking for japanese food blogs and i found your Empanadas post (what a coincidence, today is tradition day or “dia de la tradicion” in spanish…) that empanadas look awesome, here we make it with some oregano, pepper flakes, and a little cumin and sweet paprika instead of soy sauce, but it’s a tipical regional food, everybody make it different. Meat and potato, spicy meat, tuna and corn, chicken, ham and cheese are quite popular fillings, there are countless variations ( i have tried a very good ones with smoked bacon-mozzarella-prunes filling). Well i’m going because i’m hungry :) Nice to meet you, Great Blog, Salutes.

  • Francisco

    Greetings from Argentina!! i’m from Chubut a patagonian province of Argentina, i was looking for japanese food blogs and i found your Empanadas post (what a coincidence, today is tradition day or “dia de la tradicion” in spanish…) that empanadas look awesome, here we make it with some oregano, pepper flakes, and a little cumin and sweet paprika instead of soy sauce, but it’s a tipical regional food, everybody make it different. Meat and potato, spicy meat, tuna and corn, chicken, ham and cheese are quite popular fillings, there are countless variations ( i have tried a very good ones with smoked bacon-mozzarella-prunes filling). Well i’m going because i’m hungry :) Nice to meet you, Great Blog, Salutes.

  • tokyoterrace

    Francisco: I’m so glad you stumbled upon my blog! I’m sure it was a bit of a surprise to find an Argentine recipe on a blog entitled “Tokyo Terrace”! The variations on the fillings you mentioned sound amazing!! I will have to try these sometime soon- I especially like the sound of the smoked bacon mozzarella filling. YUM! Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see your comments here again soon!

  • tokyoterrace

    Francisco: I’m so glad you stumbled upon my blog! I’m sure it was a bit of a surprise to find an Argentine recipe on a blog entitled “Tokyo Terrace”! The variations on the fillings you mentioned sound amazing!! I will have to try these sometime soon- I especially like the sound of the smoked bacon mozzarella filling. YUM! Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see your comments here again soon!

  • http://zencancook.com/ zenchef

    Woa! Those are the best looking empanadas i ever seen. No kidding. I’m bookmarking this recipe and you can be sure i’ll be making it soon. I love them! And you can tell the Argentina guy/husband he’s very lucky! Congrats you two!

  • http://zencancook.com zenchef

    Woa! Those are the best looking empanadas i ever seen. No kidding. I’m bookmarking this recipe and you can be sure i’ll be making it soon. I love them! And you can tell the Argentina guy/husband he’s very lucky! Congrats you two!

  • http://www.thatssoyummy.com/ ThatsSoYummy

    Let me just say that these look so stinking good I wanted to rip one out of the computer a second ago. The story is just precious,definitely a keeper :-)

    I used to eat these all the time when I was in Argentina, Thank you for sharing the recipe will definitely have to try! :-)

    -Natasha

  • http://www.thatssoyummy.com ThatsSoYummy

    Let me just say that these look so stinking good I wanted to rip one out of the computer a second ago. The story is just precious,definitely a keeper :-)

    I used to eat these all the time when I was in Argentina, Thank you for sharing the recipe will definitely have to try! :-)

    -Natasha

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  • Liz

    Oh my goodness! Two years ago, I spent about 6 months in Argentina, traveling around in a ‘bus’ (glorified van) for most of it, and living off of ham sandwiches (and also missing the one I love). We would spoil ourselves with empanadas every chance we got. I can’t wait to make this recipe, I’m sure the memories will come flooding back. Mar Del Plata was definitely one of my favorite cities, what an amazing place for a proposal!

    Liz

  • http://fatgirltrappedinaskinnybody.blogspot.com Julia

    I was literally googling 'empenadas' as this came up on twitter. WEIRD! And these look perfect! Such a cute story about you and your husband too!!!!

  • Rachael’s Mom

    Rachael made these for our dinner tonight. THEY WERE AMAZING! She also, effortlessly I might add, baked some strawberries in that pastry and a dollop of ice cream on the side made a little bit of heaven.

  • TokyoTerrace

    Perfect! I hope they turn out well for you!

  • http://stuffurface.wordpress.com/ Amanda

    Oh these look fantastic – I am going to try these! Beautiful!

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