Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sweet and Savory Empanadas

 One thing I truly love, in addition to my tabloid magazines and Housewives’ episodes, of course, is going out to dinner with my husband. Some of the greatest memories I have when we first started dating was our adventurous and fabulous dinner dates. My husband and I would take turns in picking restaurants we had found, or that were recommended to us and would hit up these local hot spots to see what the talk was all about. Some of our early eating adventures were sushi, Spanish tapas, Columbian arepas, and Argentinean cuisine. Before I get into the recipe I am sharing with you today, I wanted to take the time to tell you where I got my inspiration for this post. One of our favorite places to eat back home is this tiny Argentinean restaurant that is tucked away in the city of Chicago. This restaurant is so small it must only sit about 100 people. The tables are so close you could probably be part of the conversation with the couple next to you. There is something about the ambiance of this restaurant that is so modern and European, yet very romantic. Could it be the flamenco music playing in the background, the modern display of Argentinean art, or the candle lit lighting at each table? Or even better, the option to bring your own favorite bottle of wine which is iced for you at your table. But what makes this restaurant so awesome is hands down their food. This restaurant is proof that taking simple ingredients really can create fabulous dishes. Considering that currently this restaurant is very far away from my house and my selection for great restaurants in my area are……very limited, I decided to make my favorite dish from this restaurant, which are empanadas. These little pockets of deliciousness are actually turnovers stuffed either sweet or savory fillings. The day I decided to make these empanadas, I ended up making four different kinds of filling to stuff them with! I guess you can say I was on a roll. Today, I am sharing two different types of filling along with two sauces to accompany them. One of the empanadas is stuffed with a traditional Argentinean beef mix that includes chopped green olives, hard boiled eggs, and raisins. Chimichurri sauce, a delicious yet tangy concoction of garlic, chopped parsley, and olive oil is what is normally served with traditional beef empanadas. The pumpkin empanada is a super simple pumpkin turnover paired with an easy sugar glaze dipping sauce. I totally encourage you to come up with sweet and savory fillings for these delicious turnovers and even better, creative and delicious sauces to pair them with. And if you do, please share with me! I will say…I was one happy girl the day I made these empanadas. I may have not been at this particular restaurant, but I did have my empanadas, glass of wine, and my sweetie next to me on the couch. Enjoy!
Beef Empanadas
Serves 4-5 as an appetizer

Dough Recipe
3 cups all purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
1 cup unsalted cold butter
1/3 cup cold water
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine 3 cups all purpose baking flour, salt, baking powder, and butter with a pastry cutter.
  2. Slowly add in the ice cold water and continue to use pastry cutter to mix all ingredients. Once all ingredients have been mixed, use hands to combine any little pieces that have not formed into the dough
  3. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to ¼ of an inch thick and use a biscuit cutter to cut out circles
Note: Did you mess up making the dough recipe? Don’t worry, I did too! Puff pastry can also be used to make these delicious turnovers. Thaw puff pastry for 20 minutes before use and cook at the same time and temp as you would for the dough recipe.

Beef Filling
1 lb ground beef (80/20)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ tsp. salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ onion, finely chopped
¼ cup rasins
¼ cup green olives, finely chopped
1 egg, boiled and finely chopped
1 egg beaten

  1. In a preheated pot, pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add ground beef
  2. Add in cumin, black pepper, chili powder, and salt to ground beef and continue to cook
  3. Add chopped onion and garlic to beef mix and continue to brown ground beef
  4. Once beef has cooked, spoon out about 90% of the fat and remove from heat
  5. Mix in rasins, green olives, and chopped boiled egg into beef, cover the pot and set aside for ten minutes
  6. Once beef mix has slightly cooled, spoon about 1 tablespoon of beef mix onto pre-cut dough and fold into a half moon
  7. Using a fork, press down the edges to seal shut the empanadas
  8. Take egg wash and brush the top of empanadas.
  9. Preheat oven to 400 and bake empanadas for 25 minutes.
 Chimichurri Sauce
½ cup finely chopped parsley
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeño ,chopped
½ tsp. dry oregano
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1. Combine all ingredients and set aside until ready to use.

Pumpkin Empanadas
Serves 4-5 as a dessert
(use same dough recipe mentioned above)

 Pumpkin Filling
1 can pumpkin puree
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup brown sugar

1. Combine all ingredients and set aside until ready to use.

Sugar Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
Splash of vanilla

1.Combine all ingredients and set aside until read to use. 

Source: L.Chavez, inspired by my favorite meal at Tango Sur, in Chicago, Illinois
(Chimichurri sauce, is from and slightly modified. 

1 comment:

  1. How big should the dough circles be? Roughly how many empanadas do you get from 1 dough recipe?