We’re currently going through an insane heatwave in lovely El Ley. I made these cute things last week when going outside in the early mornings required a fluffy sweatshirt and turning on your oven didn’t seem like an insane thing to do.
In the world of empanada land, I would say that these are more similar to Argentina-style empanadas. The dough is flakey and baked, not fried. I love this dough because while it’s flakey, it’s not exactly like pie dough. It’s more toothsome than that. And the filling is SO good that I often times will just make the filling and pair it with cauliflower rice or something. This is if I’m trying to be healthy. If not, I eat it this way…
Today I’m shooting and have vowed to cook nothing but cold recipes. So there’s pretty acai bowl, some s’mores (I’m just using my torch thank God) and some other fun stuff that I can’t wait to share with you soon!
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, frozen
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 large egg + 1 tablespoon water, beaten in a small bowl together for eggwash
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 5 green olives, minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Salt to taste
- To make the dough: In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Using a box grater, grate the cold butter atop the flour mixture. Working quickly, and using your hands, break the butter bits into the flour until they're evenly distributed and resemble the size of small peas.
- Add 4 tablespoons of water and mix. The mixture will be shaggy at this point. From here, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the dough comes together (I usually need to about 3 more tablespoons). Flour your counter and dump the dough onto it. Knead a few times more until it comes together. Form into a disc. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour, ideally overnight.
- To make the filling: In a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the ground beef. Break up the ground beef using a wooden spoon. Sprinkle with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Cook the meat until mostly browned. Add the diced onion, red bell pepper and garlic. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the green olives, tomato paste, cumin, paprika, crushed red pepper and a few pinches of salt. Give it a good mix and cook about 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. If the mixture seems a bit dry (this will depend on how much fat your ground beef has), add a splash of water.
- To assemble the empanadas: Roll out the disc of dough into a 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 6-inch round cutter (or you could use a bowl and trace out circles with a sharp paring knife), cut out as many circles as you can. Re-roll the scraps and cut out a few more.
- Transfer the rounds to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Lightly brush each dough round with egg wash. Add a tablespoon of the meat filling to one side of the circle of dough; fold the dough over, creating a half-moon shape. Using the tines of a fork, seal the empanada's seam together by pressing them together. Repeat until you've worked through all of the empanadas.
- Transfer the baking sheet of empanadas to the freezer to chill for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the empanadas with egg wash and using a knife, pierce the top to allow steam to escape. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Eat immediately or room temperature. Serve with salsa or chimichurri.