Find out why meat empanadas are Argentina's favourite street food, with this delicious and easy-to-achieve recipe.
- 1 quantity of classic dough
- 2 onions, sliced
- 1 red capsicum (pepper), sliced
- sunflower oil
- salt, black pepper
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) minced (ground) beef
- 1 tbsp aji molido (see Note) or 2 tsp of chilli flakes
- 1½ tbsp ground cumin
- 3 tsp paprika
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 6 spring onions (scallions), green part only, chopped
- 3 egg yolks, beaten
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 24 hours
For the filling, sauté the onion and capsicum in a saucepan with a little oil over low heat for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the vegetables from the saucepan and set aside.
To the same saucepan, add a little more oil and sauté the meat over high heat. Once the meat has browned, reduce heat to low and add the onion and capsicum. Continue cooking for about 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. Stir in the aji molido, if using, cumin, paprika and cinnamon and mix well.
Let the filling rest for 24 hours in the refrigerator, if possible, for a more intense flavour. Stir the spring onion into the mixture before assembling the empanadas.
For the assembly, preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/Gas 5). Sprinkle a little flour on the work surface. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 3 mm (¹⁄8 inch), and cut out circles with a 14 cm (5½ inch) cutter. Using a 60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) ice-cream scoop or measuring cup, form small balls of filling and place one on each round of dough. Lightly moisten the edge of the dough with a little water and fold over into a half-moon shape. Seal the edges and give them the ‘carne’ decoration (see page 26) or an edging of your choice. Set aside in the refrigerator if not cooking immediately.
Arrange the empanadas on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush with egg yolk and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before serving.
• Aji molido is a very common condiment in Argentinian cuisine, made from dried capsicum flakes. It can be found in Argentinian grocery stores.
Recipe and image from Argentinian Street Food, Enrique Zanoni & Gaston Stivelmaher (Murdoch Books, $29.99, hbk)