Beef Empanadas

Although Greeks are masters at putting things into pies, they don’t have a corner on the market. I really enjoy a simple butter pastry, and when stuffed with beef, onion, tomato and smoked paprika, you have what I call pie perfection. Here is my version of the legendary Spanish masterpiece.
What you need for the pastry:
  • 3 cups flour (plus more for kneading)
  • 75g softened butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp Spanish sweet paprika (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 
  • 1 egg beaten (to brush on before baking)
What you need for the filling:
  • 250g beef mince 
  • 1 sweet onion minced
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 green pepper (roasted and skin removed and chopped)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes 
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste 
  • 1 tsp Spanish sweet paprika
  • Handful chopped parsley
How it’s done: (pastry)
  • Combine flour, salt, and paprika in a mixing bowl. Cut in butter until you have a mixture that resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Beat together eggs and vinegar and add to the flour. Mix until a stiff dough forms.
  • Place on a floured surface and roll into a smooth ball. Do not over work the pastry!
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until ready to use.  
How it’s done: (filling)
  • In a frying pan brown the beef and sweet onion. Set aside.
  • Combine in a saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil: green onion, green pepper, tomatoes, tomato paste and paprika. 
  • Simmer until the mixture has reduced to a nice paste (about 20 min.)
  • Add the beef and cook for another 10 minutes, adjusting seasoning as necessary.
  • Set aside, add the parsley and let cool.
  • On a floured surface roll out the pastry until it is about 1/16th of an inch (2mm) 
  • Cut all your pastry to desired shape. I wanted rounds, so I used a 2 inch cutter and cut a top and a bottom for each empanada.
  • Take a spoonful of filling and place it in the middle of your bottom round. 
  • Dip your finger in a bit of water and wet edge of the pastry.
  • Place another piece of pastry on top of the first with the filling and gently push the edges down to close the wetted edge. 
  • Take a fork and gently pinch the the edges to seal the pastry.
  • Continue with all the pastry until you have run out.
  • Place the empanadas on a cookie sheet and brush with the beaten egg.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 20-30 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.
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