“When in Argentina” right?
One of my favourite things about Argentine cuisine is empanadas. Like their distant neighbours – dumplings – empanadas are little parcels of deliciousness. When we were here three years ago, we had our favourite empanadas yet at La Casa de las Empanadas in Cafayate, and nothing has quite live up to them yet.
We have heard of a couple of highly reviewed places in BsAs. One is a little far. The other is about a 30 minute walk away. Unfortunately, when we tried going, it was closed. Boo! However, the menu looked delicious, so we’ll head back back to try one day soon.
So, since the empanadas we have had to date have been only OK, and since I saw empanada tapas (shells) in the grocery store, I decided to try my hand at making my own Argentine empanadas de carne (meat). A little googling found me this handy recipe, I adapted it for ingredients that I could find, and I was on my way.
First step? Acquire tapas. We chose this fancy pants brand rather than the Carrefour brand. I don’t remember why, but they were easy to use and delicious, so I would certainly buy them again!
Next step. Get all your seasonings ready. In this recipe, most of the flavour comes from onions fried in shortening (or, if you are me, butter), a mix of chilli flakes, cumin, and various paprikas (or, if you are me, one kind of paprika). You fry up the onions in the butter and, once soft, remove from heat and add the seasoning. Then you mix that with your beef and set it to cool for awhile until it hardens.
(Beef not pictured. Raw ground beef isn’t… shall we say … photogenic.)
Then, get your other garnishes together. This recipe called for hard boiled eggs, green olives, and raisins. (P.S. Mom – I have perfected the Buenos Aires hard boiled egg technique. You’re in luck.)
To make an empanada, you spoon about 1 tablespoon of meat mixture onto the middle of a tapa. You add a few slices of olive and of hardboiled egg, and a few raisins. And then you carefully pinch and twist to seal your empanada. I quote the technique from the allrecipes recipe:
Seal by twisting edge, step by step, between thumb and index finger, making sure to add pressure before releasing the pinch and moving on to the next curl. Other sealing procedures like pinching without curling or using a fork to seal will not prevent juice leaks during baking, and empanadas must be juicy.
And, I think we did a pretty good job! (By we I mean that the hubs helped with one. Much to my chagrin, his was the prettiest one.)
Then you bake. And about 25 minutes later… you have empanadas.
And, because I’m all about honesty on this blog, I have to say I was pretty surprised they looked like this. Like empanadas. Real ones. That you would get in Argentina.
OK. Except for this.
But all in all, they were quite delicious. They were easy to make. And, other than the burny bottoms, the best empanadas we’ve had this trip!
Empanadas de Carne
Adapted from allrecipes.com
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 pound lean ground beef (if you can find it, if in Argentina you might be using not even remotely lean ground beef)
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar (or apple vinegar, if you can’t find white vinegar. I’m serious people.)
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup pitted green olives, chopped
- 2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
- salt to taste
- 1 12-pack empanada tapas (if you go to the original recipe, she uses puff pastry, authentic? no, yum? probably very.)