My husband spent some time in Argentina before we met.  He loved it there; the people, the land, but especially the food.  He still talks about the food.  After almost twenty-three years of marriage, I finally got around to making him some empanadas.   I found a wonderful recipe for them over on Dana’s blog (Food for Thought)…only, I had no time for a crockpot meal and my husband wanted beef empanadas, so I improvised.

I used Dana’s dough recipe and the dipping sauce she included.  Be sure to use the sauce.  My children were practically licking their plates to get the very last bits of the sauce.   If you have time (aka plan ahead), use Dana’s filling, too.  You cannot go wrong with chicken and lime.
I made a hamburger based filling.  I found a recipe in one of my Mexican cookbooks that seemed adaptable  to fit the bill.  I was wrong, though.  My husband, while he loved the empanadas, said the flavors were not Argentine.  He wanted a beef, cheese, potato combination.  This was a beef, tomato, spice, raisin combination.  I suppose that gives me another excuse to try them again. It won’t take me another twenty-three years to get around to it now that I know how good they are, though.
Empanadas: Your Recipe, My Kitchen
  • Filling:
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup beer (or water or non-alcoholic beer)
  • pinch cinnamon (1/2 of ⅛ tsp)
  • pinch ground cloves (1/2 of ⅛th tsp)
  • ⅛ tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 14 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp champagne vinegar (or other mild vinegar)
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (or 3 tsp dried)
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 3 large green olives, chopped fine (optional, but adds a nice flavor and texture)
  • Dough:
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ cup butter (I used lard)
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 egg, beaten (to brush on top)
  • Sauce:
  • 1 cup ranch salad dressing (I ran out of dressing at ¾ cup, so I added mayo to get the full amount)
  • ¼ tsp chile powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  1. To make the filling, brown the ground beef with the onions in a large skillet.
  2. Drain any grease.
  3. Add the garlic and beer and boil down until the liquid has all but disappeared.
  4. Add the cinnamon, cloves, cumin, salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes, agave, raisins and vinegar and cook over medium heat until the tomatoes have reduced to a thick sauce and the raisins are nice and plump.
  6. Stir in the cilantro and olives and heat through.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. To make the dough, combine the flour, baking powder and salt with the lard in a large bowl.
  9. Use a pastry blender or fork to mix to a crumbly state.
  10. Stir in the water (you may need less or more, so add a little at a time) to form a dough.
  11. Divide the dough into two balls and knead each a bit on a floured counter.
  12. Roll one ball out to ¼ inch thick...or thinner.
  13. Cut into 4-5 inch circles (a metal bowl makes a good circle cutter).
  14. Place 2 tsp filling on the middle of each circle.
  15. Fold the dough in half over the filling, forming a semi-circle and pinch the edges together with a fork to seal.
  16. If you have a dough press, they work really well.
  17. Place the empanadas on a cookie sheet, brush the tops with the beaten egg and bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.
  18. Serve warm.
  19. To make the sauce, combine the ranch dressing with the spices.
  20. Let sit ten minutes for the flavor to develop a bit.
Now it’s your turn.  Please feel free to link up any recipes that have been on your “to try” list.  Hopefully it hasn’t taken you over twenty years to get around to it!!  Be sure to link back to this blog or post, please.

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