Kortni’s Kitchen: Argentinian Empanadas

Empanadas are the best way to have a big meal with little dishes. It is similar to the British meat pie but individual, which in my book makes them better. When I graduated college, I decided to travel to Peru. The woman I lived with made the best empanadas I had ever had. Ever since then I have been searching for a great empanada. These are Argentinian empanadas, but if you search you can find recipes that differ depending on the South American country of your choice.

Argentinian Empanadas

Argentinian Empanadas

Ingredients: Nick Malgieri’s
Dough:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¾ cups water
  • 2 ¼ tsp granulated active dry or instant yeast
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 large egg

Filling:

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs trimmed of fat and cartilage
  • 6 oz black beans
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1 tsp crumbled dried leaves
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper

Egg wash:

  • 1 egg whisked with a pinch of salt

Directions:

Dough:

1. Mix flour with the sugar and salt and set aside.

  • Just like all doughs, you start off with the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separate.

2. Whisk the water and yeast together by hand in the bowl of an electric mixer, then whisk in the oil and egg. Use a larger rubber spatula to stir in the flour mixture.

  • Remember when working with yeast this is the part that will make it or break it. If you don’t mix the yeast correctly, then the dough won’t rise.

3. Place the bowl on the mixer fitted with the dough hook, and beat on the lowest speed until fairly smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove the dough from the mixer and knead for a minute.

  • If you don’t have a kitchen aid mixer or any mixer without a dough hook, don’t fret. You can always use your hands; kneading the dough by hand is perfectly acceptable. I use my hands to knead dough all the time when I don’t want to wash the mixing bowl.

4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn it so that the top is oiled. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough ferment until it doubles in bulk, 30 to 45 minutes.

  • Make sure you leave the dough in a cool place.

5. Divide the dough into twelve 2-ounce pieces. Form into even disks, place on a floured pan, cover with plastic wrap, and chill until they are firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.

  • If you want, you can do 6 4-ounce pieces, but these will be pretty big so cook time will differ. That is what I did, so your empanadas will be half the size of mine if you do twelve.

Filling:

1. Put the chicken in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Add the salt and bring to a simmer. Cook at an active simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the foam as it rises to the surface, then let the chicken cool in the broth. If you like, cook the chicken in advance, then refrigerate it in the strained broth, covered, for a couple of days.

2. Drain and cut the chicken into ½-inch dices. Reserve ½ cup of broth.

3. Put the a dash of oil and bell pepper and onion in a sauté pan and cook over medium heat until the onion starts to sizzle. Stir once, decrease the heat, and cook until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes.

4. Turn off the heat, stir in the chicken and black beans, then scrape the mixture into a bowl. Sprinkle on the cumin, paprika and oregano.

Argentinian Empanadas

Argentinian Empanadas

5.While the filling is cooling, divide the dough into 80-gram pieces and shape each into a flat disk. Roll each piece of dough into an 8-inch disk and chill if you’re not going to assemble the empanadas immediately.

  • I am not good at fitting the edges together. As you will see below, each one of my empanadas has a different edge.
Argentinian Empanadas

Argentinian Empanadas

6. Arrange the disks of dough on the work surface and brush the edges with water. Divide the filling equally among the dough rounds, mounding it in the center of each one. Fold the dough over to make a fat, half-moon-shaped pastry.

  • I rolled out the disks, filled them, stuffed them and fixed the edges one at a time. I don’t have enough counter space to make all of them at one time.
Argentinian Empanadas

Argentinian Empanadas

7. Press the edges of the pastry together with a fingertip, then fold and overlap the edge of the dough to seal the empanadas.

Argentinian Empanadas

Argentinian Empanadas

8.Chill the empanadas, loosely covered with plastic wrap, until you’re ready to bake them, up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to bake, set a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

Argentinian Empanadas

Argentinian Empanadas

9. Arrange the empanadas on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and brush them with the egg wash, making sure not to let puddles accumulate on or under the empanadas. Place the pan in the oven, lower the temperature to 375 degrees, and bake until they are a deep golden color, 20-25 minutes.

  • I didn’t have parchment, so I used tin foil, which worked just fine.

10. Cool the empanadas briefly on the pan on a rack and serve warm.

  • I cut up some avocado to serve with them, which had a great refreshing taste.
Argentinian Empanadas

Argentinian Empanadas

I was able to share these empanadas with my family, and it was a big hit. They had great flavor, plus one empanada a piece was so filling that we had leftovers. These empanadas are easy to make, and they are great for being on the go. Perfect for lunch or dinner, these empanadas work for either meal. The best part is if you just make the dough, you can fill it with whatever you want. Eggs for breakfast, all veggies for those vegans out there, or even meatballs and marinara for a fun twist.
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