Ladies and gentleman, prepare to board this plane called Beef Empanadas. Destination: amazing flavor!
So, yeah… No vacation for me for a while. Except Christmas in Brazil, of course! But that doesn’t quite count, since it’s my home country… Does it?
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped scallions (green part only)
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cubed (small cubes)
- 1 lbs ground beef
- 10 green olives, pitted and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 2 hard boiled eggs, roughly chopped (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup ice water
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- Vegetable oil for frying
Making the filling:
- In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, heat the olive oil and fry the onions and the garlic until translucent (about 2 minutes). Add the scallions and red pepper and sauté for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
- Add the ground beef, breaking the beef with a wooden spoon, until browned (3-5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.Then, add the olives, the spices and the egg (if using) and cook until the mixture is moist but not too liquidy. Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste.
- Let the filling cool and bring it to the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight. That will make the juices solidify, which makes your empanadas super juicy and prevents them from being soggy.
Making the dough:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour and the salt and mix until incorporated.
- Add the cubes of cold butter and, using your fingertips (or a pastry blender), work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg, ice water and white vinegar together.
- Add to the flour/butter mixture and, using the dough hook, mix in the stand mixer just until the dough comes together. (You can also skip the mixer and do this by hand!)
- Form dough into a flat disc and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, for at least one hour.
- After dough is chilled, divide into 12 equal parts and roll each part into a disc (1/8 inch thick). You can use a large cookie cutter to cut the disc into a better circle. I usually don't worry about it, as I don't mind my empanadas being different sizes! It gives them character! :)
- Place the filling in the center of the circle and carefully fold the empanada into a semicircle.
- Crimp down the edges with a fork. If necessary, wet your finger and rub it along the inside edge of the dough.
- To fry the empanadas, heat vegetable oil (enough to cover the empanadas) to 360F degrees and fry the empanadas until golden, about 2 minutes per side. I like to add a few cloves of garlic to my oil. It makes the empanadas even more flavorful!
- Transfer the empanadas to a plate lined with paper towel.
- Serve hot!
If you think 12 empanadas is too much, don't worry! Leftovers taste great and you can reheat them in a preheated oven (250 degrees) for about 10 minutes!
Alternatively, you can freeze the empanadas. To freeze, lay unbaked empanadas side by side on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Make sure they don't touch, or the empanadas will freeze together. Freeze until solid, then transfer the empanadas into a freezer bag. Frozen empanadas will keep for up to three months and can be baked straight from the freezer. Add a few extra minutes to the cooking time.
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