Argentina Empanadas

It’s taken *quite* some time, but I’m back and ready to blog! We spent the whole month of April in Las Vegas and it was glorious. Alex went back to work this month, so Lizzie and I took a quick trip to WA. It’s hard getting back to normal life….While we were in Vegas, Alex’s family spoiled us with tasty eats and treats. I can’t even count all the delicious meals his sister Kirsten made. Alex’s mom was from Argentina and empanadas were one of her specialties. Always made the same, and always perfect :) Kirsten and Tasha were kind enough to share the recipe- lucky me!

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of Tasha (Alex’s younger sis) at all.  But here’s one of Kirsten, Lizzie and me at the most amazing Vegas buffet at the Cosmopolitan.

The easiest way to make the empanada tapas is to try and find them at a hispanic market, pre-made and in this package:

However, if you don’t have access to a Hispanic market, here is a recipe you could try. Also, it’s not uncommon that some people don’t like the green olive. It is totally acceptable to do half with and half without, or just leave it out all together (I’m one of those who goes without).

Silvia’s Argentine Empanadas, makes one dozen

1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon butter
2 onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
About 6 green olives, pitted and cut into slices
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced into rounds
salt and pepper, to taste

12 empanada rounds (tapas)
1 egg, beaten, for glazing
1 glass water, to seal edges

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Put the onions in a frying pan. Saute until they start to become translucent, then add in the beef. Cook the ground beef, chopping as it cooks with a flat spatula to maintain its texture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the beef has cooked through, then taste for salt and pepper, and stir in the paprika & cumin and mix well.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the tapas on a lightly floured work surface. With a tablespoon, put a little of the meat filling in the center of the dough round. Add a slice of the olive and a piece of the hard boiled egg.

For sealing, you’ll need a small glass of water. Moisten the edge on the top half of the round with a little water on your finger. Fold the bottom half of the dough up until the edges meet and seal with your fingers by pressing down. The empanada should have a half-moon shape.

Use the palms of the hands to pack the filling firmly in the center. Next, fold the edges. Using your fingertip, fold one corner of the empanada over, pressing down firmly. Go to the edge again and repeat, pressing firmly each time. Go around the edge of the empanada and you’ll get a spiral pattern. Alternately, you can use a fork-seal instead.

Beat an egg in a small bowl and paint the top of each sealed empanada so that when they bake, they have a shiny, golden shell. Spread flour lightly over several cookie sheets, and place the finished empanadas on top. Put the empanadas in to bake for 12 to 15 minutes-they should be sizzling and very golden brown on top. Take out and try to eat when as fresh as possible. However, they can easily be covered and refrigerated to be microwaved as a tasty leftover!