I’ll never forget the first time I had an empanada. I was in my early teens and my aunt and uncle had come to America for the very first time. All our family gathered at my grandma’s house as my aunt made Empanadas for our whole family.
It was so exciting because food really makes me happy, for one. But also because as an American kid, I had never really tried anything different than hamburgers and French fries. They were so good!
Since then, as relatives have traveled to the US to visit, I’ve requested empanadas. Last year when my cousin visited I asked if she could teach me how to make empanadas since I never learned. It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to learn more traditional Argentine dishes that I can hopefully share with you again!
After making a empanadas a handful of times now, I’ve adjusted the recipe a tad. So these are kind of MY version of empanadas. Argentines are not huge on spice, but my husband and I are, so I added a lot more seasonings than my relatives do. My suggestion would be to adjust the flavors to your desired taste.
Also these contain a few ingredients that might seem questionable, such as eggs, green olives, and golden raisins. It’s one of my favorite things about the empanadas. My husband isn’t a fan of green olives so I’ll make half the batch without. Feel free to do so as well. I have had friends who are not green olive fans that love the taste of them in the empanadas. The main idea is just to go with what you think will taste best :).
This recipe makes a million empanadas. Like SO MUCH FILLING. But it’s the way I was taught, so I’ve always stuck with it. I usually freeze half the filling so that I can make more empanadas in the future and the filling is already done :).
60 Empanada dough circles*
4-5 TB. olive oil
9 sweet yellow onions, diced
sprinkle of salt
1 bunch green onions, diced
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
3 pounds ground beef
2 TB. sugar
7 TB. paprika
6-7 TB. cumin
2-5 TB. red pepper flakes (adjust to your desired spice)
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups golden raisins
1 1/2 cups green olives, halved
12 hard boiled eggs, each egg cut into 8ths
2 eggs, beaten for brushing on top of the empanada
*Empanada dough is similar to pie dough. You could definitely make it on your own, but there are markets that sell pre-made empanada dough already made in the discs. I just googled specialty markets in my area. Sometimes regular grocery stores sell them, you just need to call and check! They should be frozen when you get them. I will put the link of the disc I buy from our local store, but I wouldn’t suggest buying them from amazon as they are SUPER expensive!
If your empanada dough is frozen, make sure it has been thawing in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
In a large pot, add the olive oil. Add the onions and begin to sauce. Sprinkle generously with salt. This releases the liquid of ALL those onions :). This will take about 10 minutes until they have softened and become translucent.
Add in the tomatoes and green onions, and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
Add in the ground beef. Mix it all together and cook the meet until browned. You can drain a little of the fat if needed, but sometimes I like to keep the fat in there to keep moisture in the mixture. Up to you! Slowly add in all the seasonings and adjust to your desired taste.
Once the meet has cooked and the seasonings are added, allow it to cook for an additional 5 minutes on low heat, then turn off the heat. Cover and let it cool a little before adding in the green olives and golden raisins.
Once it has cooled a little bit, stir in the olives and golden raisins.
Get ready to assemble the empanadas.
Using a larger silver slotted spoon, add about 1-2 TB. filling in the middle of the empanada. Place one of the chopped egg pieces on top of the filling. (Not one egg per empanada. Place 1/8 of the egg on the empanada. (Pictures below.)
Dip your finger in a bowl full of cold water, and rub it around the outside of the empanada. Fold the empanada in half and press a fork all around the edges to seal the empanada. (Pictures below.) Brush the egg on top of the empanadas.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-40 minutes, or until the empanadas are golden brown. (Time depends on the type of dough you use.)
*Traditional Chimichurri sauce isn’t blended like I blend mine. The herbs and seasoning are finely chopped and then incorporated in olive oil. I like to puree mine almost like a dressing, so keep that in mind. :)
4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/2 bunch parsley
1 TB. dried oregano
1 jalapeño, seeds removed
1/2 -1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup olive oil
Add all the ingredients, minus the olive oil, into a food processor. Blend together.
While it’s blending, slowly add in the olive oil.
Adjust seasonings to desired taste.
Store in the fridge in a tightly covered container until ready to use.
Can be saved for up to 2-3 days.