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Easiest Traditional Argentinian Beef Empanadas

Updated on June 30, 2013

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Argentine Woman Making Empanadas

Thanks to Wikimedia Commons, this public domain picture shows an Argentinian woman making empanadas. Note the Doña Petrona style repulgue (crimping)!
Thanks to Wikimedia Commons, this public domain picture shows an Argentinian woman making empanadas. Note the Doña Petrona style repulgue (crimping)! | Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 2 hours
Yields: Between 60 and 100 empanadas

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1.5 lbs. extra lean ground beef
  • 1-2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 T olive oil, for frying the filling
  • 1 qt canola oil, for frying the empanadas
  • 1 tsp ground hot red chilli pepper
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 - 2 T green olives, chopped
  • 1-2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 5 pkgs Goya (or other brand) frozen disks for empanadas, thawed

This Pan Full of Filling Yields Over 60 Empanadas

This pan full of traditional ground beef filling yields between sixty (60) and one hundred (100) traditional Argentinian empanadas.
This pan full of traditional ground beef filling yields between sixty (60) and one hundred (100) traditional Argentinian empanadas. | Source
  1. Make the meat filling first. This should take you about 30 minutes, between prepping the ingredients and fully cooking the filling.
  2. Heat the olive oil in the frying pan.
  3. Dice the green bell pepper and saute in the olive oil until softened.
  4. Add the ground beef and brown.
  5. Add the cumin, hot red chili pepper and cumin. Note: if you do not have hot red chili pepper, substitute Hungarian paprika.
  6. Stir all the seasonings into the ground beef.
  7. Add the chopped green olives and raisins. Stir to mix all with the browning ground beef.
  8. Lower heat and cover to allow the flavors to meld.
  9. Add the chopped hard boiled eggs, including the yolks. Mix well.
  10. Remove from heat, cover and let sit until ready to fill the empanada disks.
  11. Now it's time to open the thawed empanada disks packages and fill the disks for frying.
  12. On a cutting board or other clean surface, place about four or five (or all of them, if you have the space) pastry disks.
  13. Using a teaspoon, take some cooled filling and place in the center of a pastry disk. Repeat until you have filled all the disks you have laid out.
  14. Dip your finger in some water (I usually have some in a cup near the surface I'm working on) and run it around the entire edge of a pastry disk.
  15. Fold the disk over the filling and press the edges of the disk together to close it. (The water you used to rim the edges will help seal it.)
  16. Beginning at one end of the half moon shaped, filled pastry disk, twist the edge all the way around to crimp it. Note: if you cannot get the hang of Argentine style crimping - it does take some practice - you can use the tines of a fork to press down all along the edges of the filled pastry disk as a locking mechanism, so the empanada won't open during the frying process.
  17. Repeat until you have no more filling (or until you have made as many empanadas as you need or want). The filling can be refrigerated for up to a week.
  18. When you have made and set aside all the empanadas you need, pour a quart of canola oil into a deep pot and heat it till almost boiling. (Throw an empanada in to see if the oil is hot enough for frying. If it immediately bubbles when you put the "test" empanada in, it is hot enough.)
  19. Fry your empanadas (my pot holds four empanadas at a time), turning over once.
  20. When both sides of the empanada are a deep golden brown, take it out with a pair of tongs and set it on a paper towel (on a plate or serving platter) to drain and cool.
  21. Repeat until all your empanadas have been fried.
  22. Serve immediately, at room temperature or even cold the next day! This is a great picnic food, by the way!

Filling the Empanada Disk

Just a teaspoon of filling is all it takes to make a great tasting traditional empanada argentina.
Just a teaspoon of filling is all it takes to make a great tasting traditional empanada argentina. | Source

What the Cooked Filling Looks Like

This is what the cooked filling looks like at the end of it all. The ground beef will have absorbed not only the flavor of the ground spices (cumin and hot red pepper), but also of the raisins, green bell pepper, green olives and hard boiled eggs.
This is what the cooked filling looks like at the end of it all. The ground beef will have absorbed not only the flavor of the ground spices (cumin and hot red pepper), but also of the raisins, green bell pepper, green olives and hard boiled eggs. | Source

The Repulgue or Crimping Is Key

The repulgue, or crimping, of an empanada is key. A well-done repulgue is tight, so that the filling does not fall out during frying, baking, or eating. It also gives a great, elegant presentation!
The repulgue, or crimping, of an empanada is key. A well-done repulgue is tight, so that the filling does not fall out during frying, baking, or eating. It also gives a great, elegant presentation! | Source

Store Bought Disks Save You Time

This package of Goya disks yields twelve (12) empanadas (two more than the other Goya package) and keeps the pastry from cracking while frozen.
This package of Goya disks yields twelve (12) empanadas (two more than the other Goya package) and keeps the pastry from cracking while frozen. | Source

Traditional Beef-Filled Argentinian Empanadas

These empanadas are filled with seasoned ground beef cooked with raisins and green olives and are ready to be deep fried!
These empanadas are filled with seasoned ground beef cooked with raisins and green olives and are ready to be deep fried! | Source

Empanadas Are Traditional for Asados

Empanadas, especially these beef ones, are traditional fare at Argentinian asados, or barbeques. An asado is an all-afternoon (and well into evening) outdoor affair, usually at someone's place in the country. Family and friends descend on the host's house and eat empanadas while they wait for the grill, or the parrilla, to get hot enough to start grilling the meat.

The asado meal is simple and usually consists of grilled meat, a side of fresh green salad (nothing fancy, usually some lettuce and tomato simply dressed in olive oil and vinegar), and a hank of fresh baguette-style bread. And. of course, it is washed down with lots of good red wine and happy conversation!

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