Empanadas are a staple in Argentinean cuisine and have become increasingly popular all around the world. These delicious pastry pockets are filled with a variety of meats, vegetables, and spices, and are perfect for any meal of the day. However, making authentic Argentinean-style empanadas may seem daunting to beginners who have never attempted to make them before. In this beginner’s guide, we will take you through the step-by-step process of creating traditional Argentinean-style empanadas at home. By following our easy-to-follow instructions, you’ll soon be able to wow your family and friends with your empanada-making skills!
1. Introduction to Argentinean-Style Empanadas
What are Empanadas?
Empanadas are a type of pastry that originated in Spain and Portugal. These delicious treats consist of a savory filling enclosed in a pastry shell that is baked or fried until golden brown. Empanadas are incredibly versatile and can be filled with almost anything, from meat and vegetables to cheese and fruits.
The History of Empanadas in Argentina
Empanadas arrived in Argentina with Spanish immigrants in the early 16th century and quickly became a staple of Argentinean cuisine. Today, empanadas are a beloved national dish in Argentina, with regional variations in both the filling and the pastry.
2. Gathering Ingredients and Equipment
Essential Empanada Ingredients
The key ingredients for traditional Argentinean-style empanadas are beef, onions, paprika, cumin, hard-boiled eggs, and olives. You’ll also need flour, butter, water, and salt to make the dough.
Tools and Equipment Needed for Making Empanadas
To make empanadas, you’ll need a rolling pin, a large bowl for mixing the dough, a knife for chopping the filling ingredients, and a baking sheet for cooking the empanadas.
3. Making the Empanada Dough
Traditional Empanada Dough Recipe
To make traditional Argentinean-style empanada dough, combine 3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup butter in a large bowl. Slowly add 3/4 cup warm water, mixing until a dough forms. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, then cover and let it rest for 30 minutes before rolling out.
Alternative Empanada Dough Recipes
If you prefer a gluten-free option, you can substitute all-purpose flour with almond flour or a gluten-free flour blend. You can also use store-bought empanada dough if you are short on time.
4. Preparing the Filling
Traditional Empanada Filling Recipes
For a traditional Argentinean-style empanada filling, brown 1 pound of ground beef with 1 diced onion, 1 teaspoon paprika, and 1 teaspoon ground cumin. Add 1/2 cup chopped green olives and 2 diced hard-boiled eggs, and cook until heated through.
Alternative Empanada Filling Recipes
If you want to mix it up, try filling your empanadas with chicken and cheese, spinach and feta, or ham and cheese. The possibilities are endless!
5. Assembling and Baking the Empanadas
Assembling and baking empanadas is the fun part! Once you have your dough and filling ready, it’s time to put everything together and get these delicious pastries in the oven. Here’s how:
Steps to Assemble Empanadas
1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
2. Take a small ball of dough and roll it out into a circle about 6 inches in diameter.
3. Spoon a tablespoon or two of filling onto one half of the circle, leaving about half an inch of space around the edges.
4. Fold the other half of the circle over the filling and pinch the edges together to seal the empanada.
5. Use a fork to press down on the edges and create a decorative border.
6. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling until you have as many empanadas as you want.
7. Place the empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
8. Brush the empanadas with egg wash for a golden, shiny finish.
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the empanadas are golden brown and crispy.
How to Properly Bake Empanadas
Empanadas are baked instead of fried, which makes them a healthier option. To bake them properly:
1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
2. Place the empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
3. Brush the empanadas with egg wash for a golden, shiny finish.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the empanadas are golden brown and crispy.
6. Serving and Enjoying Traditional Argentinean-Style Empanadas
Now that your empanadas are hot out of the oven, it’s time to enjoy them! Here are some tips for serving and enjoying traditional Argentinean-style empanadas:
Common Empanada Dipping Sauces
Empanadas are delicious on their own, but dipping sauces can take them to the next level. Some popular empanada dipping sauces include:
– Chimichurri: a tangy, herby sauce made from parsley, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and red pepper flakes.
– Salsa criolla: a simple sauce made from chopped onion, tomato, and bell pepper mixed with oil and vinegar.
– Hot sauce: any hot sauce will add some heat and flavor to your empanadas.
Wine Pairings for Empanadas
Wine is the perfect accompaniment to empanadas, especially red wine. Some good options include:
– Malbec: a full-bodied, fruity red wine that is a classic Argentinean pairing for empanadas.
– Cabernet Sauvignon: another full-bodied red wine that pairs well with savory dishes like empanadas.
– Syrah: a spicy red wine that complements the flavors of the meat and spices in the empanadas.
Now that you know how to assemble, bake, and serve traditional Argentinean-style empanadas, it’s time to get cooking. Enjoy!Making traditional Argentinean-style empanadas at home is a fun and rewarding experience that can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of their cooking experience. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to create delicious empanadas that are sure to impress your family and friends. With a little practice, you’ll soon be able to customize your empanadas to your liking and experiment with different fillings, sauces, and seasonings. So, dust off your apron and get ready to indulge in the wonderful flavors of Argentinean cuisine!
Are empanadas difficult to make?
Not at all! Empanadas are relatively easy to make, especially with the help of this guide. While the dough and filling may take some time and effort to prepare, the assembly and baking process is simple and straightforward.
What kind of meat is typically used in empanadas?
Beef is the most commonly used meat in traditional Argentinean-style empanadas. However, other meats such as chicken, pork, lamb, and even fish can be used as well. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available.
Can empanadas be frozen?
Yes! Empanadas can be frozen both before and after baking. To freeze unbaked empanadas, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for a few hours. Once they are frozen, transfer them to a plastic freezer bag and store them in the freezer for up to three months. To bake frozen empanadas, simply brush them with egg wash and bake for a few minutes longer than the original recipe calls for.
What are some common sauces to serve with empanadas?
There are many sauces that pair well with empanadas, including chimichurri, salsa criolla, hot sauce, and aioli. You can also serve them with a side of sour cream or guacamole.