“They’re very good,” Uncle Alejandro said, as he and Arie gobbled up the left-over empanadas from the night before as a 5:00 snack. “However, they’re missing something. Something distinct. I can’t put my finger on it…But they’re very good.”
It was my first attempt to make empanadas for my new Argentinian family, and I was just glad to be told that they were “very good”.
“Cumin!” Alejandro exclaimed as he was walking out the door an hour after the empanadas had been eaten. “That’s what they were missing! Did you add cumin?” I thought back on the recipe I used. “No, the recipe didn’t call for cumin.” Alejandro smiled at my first efforts and said encouragingly, “Next time, add cumin. You’ll see.”
The next week, I made empanadas again for a large family gathering at our house. This time, I made sure to add cumin.
Argentinians love their empanadas. They can be served as a snack, an appetizer, or as the main course. There are many different fillings that differ by region. There are traditional beef or chicken fillings, as well as some like pumpkin and mozzarella that are a bit more daring. The repulgue, or pattern on the fold, indicates what filling is inside.
Arie’s philosophy about empanadas is that it doesn’t matter what they look like, it’s what they taste like. He reminds me of this time and time again as I fuss with my repulgue. And although mine may not look the prettiest, he insists that my homemade ones are the best. I must admit that empanadas fresh from the oven are hard to beat.
Give this recipe a try, and then try making your own favorite filling. I’ve been told that anything can go into an empanada…oh, the possibilities! Also, the tapas can be purchased in the United States in specialty stores such as Fiesta, or they can be made from scratch. Tapas recipe coming soon!
- tapas - 1 package of 20
- eggs - 2, hard-boiled, chopped
- ground beef - 1 pound (500 g)
- onions - 2, chopped
- salt - 1/2 tsp.
- pepper - 1/2 tsp.
- paprika - 1/2 Tbsp.
- cumin - 1/2 Tbsp.
- oregano - 1/2 Tbsp.
- green olives - 1/4 c, sliced
- raisins - 1/4 c
- egg - 1, beaten
1. On the stovetop, boil the eggs, brown the ground beef, and caramelize the chopped onion.
2. Once the beef is cooked, add the caramelized onions to the skillet. Turn the heat down to low. Add the salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, and oregano to taste. Then add the green olives and raisins.
3. Take the mixture off the burner and allow it to cool completely.
4. Dice the hard-boiled eggs and add to the mixture. Mix thoroughly so that the ingredients are evenly distributed.
5. When the mixture is cool, begin making the empanadas. Holding a tapa in your hand, put 2 spoonfuls of the mixture in the center. Press the edges together. (Tip: a dab of water helps the dough to stick together.)
6. Twist the edge so that the dough will stay together.
7. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or butter. Place the empanadas on the sheet. Lightly brush a beaten egg on top of the empanadas.
8. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 12 minutes, until golden brown.