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Classic Argentinian meat empanadas


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Mobile morsels are all the rage right now, so why not try cooking up your own Argentinian-style street food at home?

This traditional empanada recipe is from new cookbook Argentinian Street Food, by Argentinian chefs Enrique Zanoni and Gaston Stivelmaher, who run three restaurants in Paris as well as a food truck. Along with a range of meat, vegetable and sweet empanadas, it also includes recipes for chimichurri sauce, pica pica, helados (Argentina’s version of gelato) and Dulce De Leche (a delicious caramel confection).

Clasico Argentino [meat empanadas]

Argentinian Street Food, Enrique Zanoni and Gaston Stivelmaher, Murdoch Books

Argentinian Street Food, Enrique Zanoni and Gaston Stivelmaher, Murdoch Books

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Resting time (optional): 24 hours
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Makes 20 empanadas


1 quantity of classic dough (see recipe below)

2 onions, sliced
1 red capsicum (pepper), sliced
sunflower oil
salt, black pepper
500g (1 lb 2 oz) minced (ground) beef
1 tablespoon aji molido (see note below) or 2 teaspoons of chilli flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons paprika
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
6 spring onions (scallions), green part only, chopped

3 egg yolks, beaten



Saute the onion and capsicum in a saucepan with a little oil over low heat for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the vegetables from the saucepan and set aside.

To the same saucepan, add a little more oil and saute the meat over high heat. Once the meat has browned, reduce heat to low and add the onion and capsicum.

Continue cooking for about 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. Stir in the aji molido, if using, cumin, paprika and cinnamon and mix well.

Let the filling rest for 24 hours in the refrigerator, if possible, for a more intense flavour.

Stir the spring onion into the mixture before assembling the empanadas.


Preheat the oven to 190C (375F/Gas 5). Sprinkle a little flour on the work surface. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 3mm (1/8 inch), and cut out circles with a 14cm (5 1/2 inch) cutter.

Using a 60ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) ice-cream scoop or measuring cup, form small balls of filling and place one on each round of dough. Lightly moisten the edge of the dough with a little water and fold over into a half-moon shape. Seal the edges and give them the ‘carne’ decoration or an edging of your choice.

Set aside in the refrigerator if not cooking immediately.


Arrange the empanadas on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush with egg yolk and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Aji molido: This is a very common condiment in Argentinian cuisine, made from dried capsicum flakes. It can be found in Argentinian grocery stores.

Dough recipes

Empanadas-2There are two types of dough, depending on whether the empanada is baked or fried. Each recipe will make 20 rounds of dough, 14cm (5 1/2 inches) across. Allow about 30 minutes preparation time and 2 hours resting time.

Classic Dough (for baking)

1. Cut 325 g (11 1/2 oz) of unsalted butter into small cubes. Sift 1kg (2 lb 4 oz/6 2/3 cups) of plain (all-purpose) flour into a large bowl. Add 25g (1 oz) of salt and the cubes of butter.

2. Rub the butter into the flour and salt with your hands until you have a sandy texture with no lumps.

3. Add 350ml (12 fl oz) of water and combine with the flour mixture using your hands. Add a little more water if necessary. Knead the dough on a lightly floured work surface for 10–15 minutes.

4. Form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Puffed dough (for frying)

1. Combine 1kg (2 lb 4 oz/6 2/3 cups) of plain (all-purpose) flour with 25g (1 oz) of salt in a bowl.

2. Add 160ml (5 1/4 fl oz) of sunflower oil and 350ml (12 fl oz) of water, then mix with a wooden spoon.

3. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10–15 minutes until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

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