When I returned to the States after my first trip to Argentina a few years ago, I kept ordering empanadas every time I saw them on a menu only to be dissapointed that they were not even close to what I had in South America. Maybe it's the water, beef lard, earthen oven or perhaps everything tastes better when you are on vacation but they fell short of what I remembered. I finally decided to take matters into my own hands and found this recipe which got me pretty darn close. You can make your own empanada dough or you can find frozen wrappers at your local Latin grocery store. I was told by my Argentine friend Nora that most people use the frozen wrappers.
Recommended wine: Argentine Torrontes - try the Crios from Susana Balbo.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add beaten egg, yolk, milk and melted butter or shortening. The dough will be soft and slightly greasy due to the butter. Put in refrigerator to firm up as the chilled dough will be easier to roll out.
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 pound ground beef chuck
2 tablespoons raisins (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
Cut each egg crosswise into 10 thin slices and set aside.
Cook onion in olive oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened. Add garlic, cumin, paprika and oregano and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in beef and cook, breaking up lumps with a fork, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add raisins, olives, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and tomatoes then cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced but mixture is still moist, about 10 minutes. Spread on a plate to cool.
Yield - 20 empanadas