Beef or Venison Empanadas

Beef or Venison Empanadas

Beef empanadas were one of my favorite dishes when I lived in Argentina.  It is in a nutshell, a handheld pot pie, so there are many variations for you to try and tweak to make your own style. This version is more of a softer non flaky type crust since it's baked (I'm trying to be healthier) with a beef and tomato base filling.  You can make a flakier, pastry type crust with this as well and it's just as delicious.  And the filling, use any pot pie recipe:  beef, chicken, shrimp, cabbage....I love empanadas because like soups, you can experiment with these to find which variations you like the best, and there's not really a wrong way to go about it.

This Argentinean food staple is great as a meal or snack depending on the size you make.  If you want to make snack sized, we have a pastry tool that makes them the perfect snack/appetizer size.  They are also perfect for freezing and eating on those days you don't want to cook.  

Ingredients for the dough:  4oz butter, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 6 cups of flour (I used wheat), 2 cups boiling water.

Ingredients for filling:  1 lb beef (also good with deer meat), 1 cup diced yellow or sweet onion, 4 garlic cloves minced, 2 tsp fresh (or dried) thyme, 2 tsp dried marjoram (or oregano), 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tbsp paprika, a pinch of cayenne pepper, 1 cup beef broth, salt and pepper to taste 

Directions for dough

  • put boiling water, butter, and salt in mixing bowl.   Stir to melt butter.  Cool to room temperature.
  • gradually stir in flour until dough comes together.  Knead until firm, add more flour if sticky.  Wrap and refrigerator for an hour.

Directions for filling:

  • season beef with salt and pepper and set aside.  Melt 3 tbs of butter in skillet.  Add beef and fry until nicely browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Then add the onions until softened/browned.
  • Add garlic, thyme, and marjoram and stir well for about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in tomato paste, cayenne, and the cup of beef broth.  Turn heat to simmer, stirring well.  Cook about 10 minutes until meat is tender and sauce coats it.  Cool to room temperature.

After filling is close to room temperature and the dough is chilled:

  • pre heat oven to 375 degrees.  Divide chilled dough and form balls (2 inches balls usually roll out into 4 inch circles.  This is a medium sized empanada).  Lay circle on baking sheet lightly dusted with flour.
  • put filling in center of each round.  Wrap dough around filling, pressing edges together with a fork (if you are using the pastry tool we have, you don't need to close the edges with a fork.  You just fold the tool)
  • brush tops with butter and bake until golden brown, about 10 - 15 minutes.

 If you don't want to make the dough, use any pre made pie crust as the dough.

Let me know if you like this recipe and any variations you like!




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