Last Updated on September 13, 2023 by My Back Kitchen
Empanadas have gained worldwide popularity for their irresistible combination of crispy pastry and flavorful fillings. Among the diverse array of empanada varieties, one stands out as a true culinary masterpiece—Authentic Empanadas de Carne. Originating from Latin America, these delightful hand pies are filled with succulent beef, aromatic spices, and a touch of regional flair. In this blog post, we will dive into the rich history, traditional preparation methods, and mouthwatering taste of Authentic Empanadas de Carne.
A Bite into History:
Empanadas have a long-standing history in Latin American cuisine, with their roots traced back to the Spanish colonial period. The concept of the empanada, meaning “enbreaded” in Spanish, was brought to the region by Spanish explorers. Over time, it evolved into a beloved local dish, with each country and region adding its own unique touch to the recipe. The empanada de carne, or beef empanada, has become a staple in countries such as Argentina, Chile, and Colombia, where it is celebrated for its robust flavors and satisfying nature.
Crafting the Perfect Crust:
The hallmark of a great empanada lies in its crust. A well-made crust should be both flaky and sturdy enough to hold the savory filling. Traditional empanada dough is typically made with a mixture of flour, butter or lard, salt, and water. The dough is kneaded until it reaches a smooth consistency, then rolled out and cut into circular shapes. This step requires patience and skill, as the thickness and size of the circles will determine the overall taste and texture of the empanadas.
The Essence of the Filling:
The filling of Authentic Empanadas de Carne is what truly sets them apart. In Latin America, the filling usually consists of finely chopped or ground beef, onions, garlic, and a medley of spices. The choice of spices can vary, but common additions include cumin, paprika, oregano, and chili powder. Some regional variations, such as ours here at MBK, incorporate ingredients like olives, raisins, or hard-boiled eggs to add an extra layer of complexity and flavor. The meat and vegetables are sautéed together until perfectly cooked and seasoned, creating a mouthwatering mixture that will make your taste buds dance with delight.
Folding and Frying to Perfection:
After the dough circles are filled with the flavorful meat mixture, the next step is the art of folding. The dough is carefully folded over, creating a crescent shape, and the edges are sealed by crimping or pressing with a fork. This ensures that the filling remains intact during the frying process. Once assembled, they are placed in hot oil and fried until golden brown and fragrant.
Authentic Empanadas de Carne represent the epitome of Latin American culinary excellence. From their humble origins to their worldwide recognition, these hand pies have captured the hearts and palates of food lovers everywhere. The combination of a delicate, flaky crust and a robust, savory filling makes them an irresistible treat for any occasion. Whether you choose to savor them on a sunny afternoon or indulge in them during a festive gathering, Authentic Empanadas de Carne are a true delight that will transport you to the vibrant streets of Latin America with every delectable bite. Enjoy!
Authentic Empanadas de Carne
- 1 lb. ground chuck
- 1 -15 oz can tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper finely chopped
- 1 small white onion chopped
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup green olives with pimento chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- Salt & Black Pepper to taste
- 1 large hard boiled egg chopped
- 1 recipe Empanada Dough (see below) or 1 box puff pastry sheets
- 1 qt. vegetable oil for frying
- In a medium pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and green pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, stir in minced garlic. Add tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Crumble ground chuck into sauce. Stir in chopped olives and raisins. Correct seasonings. Cook until sauce is reduced and almost dry. Set aside to cool completely.
- Roll dough out as you would a tortilla. Fill each "tortilla" with 1 1/2 – 2 T meat filling. Add a piece of chopped egg; white and yellow parts. Fold over and seal with a crimp. Set aside and continue to finish all empanadas. Keep refrigerated until ready to fry or freeze for up to one month.
- Heat oil to 350. Fry empanadas until golden brown. Drain on rack. Serve warm. If using puff pastry sheets, bake according to instructions on box.
Pastry for Empanadas
- 3 C All Purpose Flour
- 3/4 C Shortening
- 1 t Salt
- 1/4 C Warm Water
- In a large mixing bowl combine flour, salt and shortening. Slowly add water, just enough to form dough. Knead until smooth and divide into 40 pieces. Shape into balls. Cover and let rest until ready to fill. NOTE: This dough is specific for empanadas to be fried and does not do well when baking.