My son-in-law’s mom and dad are from Argentina. His mother, Lidia, serves empanadas at barbecues as an appetizer while his dad, Jorge, grills the meat Argentinean style. She also makes empanaditas (little tiny empanadas) as appetizers for fancy dinners or cocktails.
Lidia told me once that she had to learn how to make empanadas by memory. She never cooked in Argentina, but when she came to the U.S. she had to learn the hard way (by reading recipes on cans and macaroni boxes). So, when her father-in-law asked her to make them one day, she did so by recalling how her mom used to make them, and how they tasted too (back then it was extremely expensive to make a long distant call).
Lidia, and now my daughter and son-in-law, make empanadas when we get together for extended family celebrations. Empanadas are a welcome addition to our family cuisine.
Lidia's Empanadas Argentinas Recipe
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 green bell pepper or red, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¾ pound ground beef
- ¾ cup green olives chopped
- ¼ cup raisins
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup tomato sauce
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 hard-boiled eggs peeled and chopped
- empanadas wrappers 10 per pack, usually in freezer section of grocery store
- vegetable oil for deep-frying
To make the picadillo, add ¼ cup vegetable in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté, stirring constantly untill the vegetables and garlic are tender. Add the meat, and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the olives, raisins, salt, sugar, pepper, tomato sauce, wine, and egg. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool.
Transfer the empanada wrappers to a lightly floured surface. With your hands, separate each wrapper. Drain the picadillo, if necessary, to remove excess liquid. Add 2 tablespoons of the filling to each pastry then fold the bottom dough up in a half-moon. Crimp the edges closed with a fork.
Place a heavy, deep skillet over medium heat and add enough vegetable oil until it's about 1 inch deep. Heat over medium-high heat. When the oil sizzles, add the empanadas, two or three at a time. Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes each. Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on a paper towel.