yield: ~18 empanadas
time: 60 min total
- 1 lb ground beef
- Olive oil, about 1-2 TBSP
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1/4 yellow bell pepper, minced
- 1/4 orange bell pepper, minced
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 10-12 small green Spanish olives, pitted, chopped (optional)
- 2 TBSP Uruguayan Adobo* or about 1.5 TBSP dried oregano, 1 tsp dried parsley, 1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes (Uruguayan adobo is a mixture of oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes, and other herbs)
- 2 tsp salt (and more, to taste)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 egg yolk for painting
- Empanada wrappers– the kind for baking, not frying (La Salteña** Hojaldradas para hornear are best)
A few hours before, take the empanada dough out of the freezer and let it come to room temperature. They should not be cold, because the dough is harder to work with when too stiff.
Cook ground beef over medium heat in a pan, breaking it up and stirring as it cooks. When it’s almost done, remove from burner. Strain to get rid of fat and juices. Set aside. Pour off the rendered beef fat and juices.
Put pan back on heat, add olive oil. When oil is hot, add chopped onion and saute until almost translucent. Add bell pepper and sauté until soft and onions are just beginning to brown. Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds to a minute. When garlic becomes fragrant, toss ground meat back in the pan. Cook, stirring until meat is done cooking and everything is nicely mixed. Season with adobo, paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Add tomato paste and stir. Taste again and adjust salt and pepper, if needed. Let cool.
Once lukewarm, toss in beaten egg and olives. Mix well.
Line 1 baking sheet with parchment paper.
Open empanada dough package. Take out one disc at a time. I like to hold the disc in the palm of my left hand, and using a tablespoon in my right hand, put about 1.5 TBSPs of filling onto the disc. (Leo prefers to lay out a bunch of the discs on a flat surface, and fill them. Whatever works for you is fine.) The amount you use can vary, just don’t overstuff the empanada or you won’t be able to seal it well. Leave about a 1/3- 1/2 inch border around edge. Moisten all around edge with water, then fold shell over filling. I seal my empanadas really quickly, like Chinese potstickers, but Leo uses the tines of a fork to press the edges all the way around. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat as many times as necessary. Pro tip — if your filling is super wet, you may want to cook your empanadas upright, like potstickers. If your filling is less juicy, place them on their sides.
Paint tops of empanadas with egg yolk. Place in 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. When empanadas are golden and beginning to flake, remove. I lift the entire sheet of parchment and slide it onto a cooling rack. Enjoy carefully, as insides will be significantly hotter than outsides. These are also delicious at room temperature as a snack or meal.
* You can sometimes find Uruguayan adobo in Latin markets or on Amazon
**You can find La Salteña wrappers here in San Diego at Andrés Cuban Market on Morena, Tropical Star on Balboa Ave, or at North Park Produce in City Heights. They are Argentina’s best-selling empanada wrapper. My Uruguayan husband and I like them better than Goya brand for the flakiness of the dough and get consistently good results. We always buy the Hojaldradas para hornear as we do not have a deep fryer.