Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Empanadas of Argentina

¡Buenos días! LIFEers showed up hungry for today's class on making Argentinian empanadas. "Empanada", as it is written in Spanish and Portuguese, or "impanata" in Italian, derives from the verb "empanar" meaning "to wrap in bread". Thus, empanadas are small bread pastries surrounding some type of filling, which varies by region. Mexican empanadas usually contain a fruit filling whereas Italian impanatas often contain cheese and/or vegetables. The Argentinian empanadas we made in class contain ground beef and green olives.

Empanada recipe
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 pound ground beef (not lean)
• 2 teaspoons paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/2 cup pitted green olives, chopped (10 oz jar)
• 2 cloves garlic chopped
• 1 egg
• 2 packages of frozen empanada dough (1 package has 16 dough slices)

Brown the ground beef with the chopped onions and garlic on low heat, adding the spices when it begins to brown. Add the olives. Since the meat will continue to cook in the empanada, don’t cook it thoroughly in the pan. Let it cool. Spoon a small amount of the meat mixture onto the center of a thawed empanada dough slice. Fold the dough over the meat like a taco. Pinch one end closed to hold the juices inside. Then pinch the entire top of the empanada closed, using a pie-crust-like pinching technique. Brush the sealed empanada with egg. Bake in the oven at 425 for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve plain or with hot sauce. Makes 32 empanadas.

You can buy the frozen dough at Phoenicia.

To try empanadas around Houston, visit these locations:
• Manenas Deli -

• Asturias Bakery -

We also learned about Yerba Mate tea, a popular beverage of the gauchos, which is rumored to be healthy and help you loose weight, but is also supposedly tied to increased incidents of throat cancer in the gauchos that drank it daily. Todo en moderación, I always say. The gauchos drank the tea in little wooden cups, of which we had several examples in class. ¡Hasta luego!

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