Sunday, March 24, 2013

Argentine Beef Empanadas

Yummy yummy yummy.  These are the second kind of empanadas that I made today (see the post for Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas for the other recipe).  These are some tasty little morsels. 

They are classic Argentine beef empanadas, with green olives stuffed with pimento and yellow raisins in the filling, along with some cumin, honey, and hot sauce, making for a wonderful burst of sweet and spicy flavors.

 It's like a party in your mouth! WOW yes I did say party in your mouth... (i'm clearly a little off after rolling, filling, folding, crimping, OK?!).  Anyways...

The dough for these is a little intense on the calorie scale... it has 8 oz of cream cheese, 2 sticks of butter, and half a cup of heavy cream...

Yowzah!.. like I said... it is a bit much.  It makes for a very flaky delicious dough... and it rolls out beautifully...

However, you could use a lighter dough recipe and I may next time... (see dough for Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas).

In any event, these were worth the time and effort.  One note is that this recipe makes WAY MORE than 26 to 28 as the recipe suggests.  I made 46 before I ran out of dough, and still had quite a bit of filling left over... So beware and consider scaling down the filling by 1/3 if you want. I froze the leftover filling and will make more of these when we run through the 46 that are already in the freezer!

Classic Argentine Beef Empanadas
From (and adapted from Mad Hungry via Serious Eats)

Makes about 45 appetizer size empanadas

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper (about 1 large)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (use 85% lean, not the super-lean)
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup pimento-filled green olives, sliced
1 cup golden raisins
2 tsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
several dashes of hot sauce, to taste
3 large eggs, separated

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 (8-ounce) package of cream cheese, at room temperature (don’t use low fat)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
1 tsp. kosher salt
lime wedges, for serving

Prepare the filling: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion & bell pepper and sauté 3 to 4 minutes until softened. Raise heat to high and add beef. Cook, stirring constantly, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Use a spoon to scoop out some of the liquid; discard. Stir in cumin, olives, raisins, honey, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Cook until the meat is golden brown, liquid has evaporated and flavors have blended, about 4 more minutes. Cool completely in the refrigerator. Stir in 3 egg whites when mixture is cool.

Prepare pastry: Process butter, cream cheese and cream in a food processor or electric mixer. Add flour and salt and mix just until combined and dough holds together in a ball. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Divide into three pieces. Flatten into disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. If the dough is chilled overnight, take it out for about 15 minutes before rolling out.
Dust a rolling pin with flour. Working with one dough disk at a time, place the disk on a clean, well-floured surface (I use a silpat mat). Roll gently from the center of the dough to the top and bottom edges and from side to side. Reflour the work surface and/or rolling pin, as needed. You want the dough to be thin but not transparent. 

Assembly: Use a 3 to 4 inch cookie cutter to cut out circles. Gather scraps together, re-roll and cut more circles until you’ve used up all the dough. Scoop some filling into the center of the dough circle (about 1 Tbsp.).  Wet the edge of the dough with water, using your finger to to rub. Fold the dough over to form a half-circle. Crimp edges with a fork, or fold over decoratively (using more water, as needed, to act as ‘glue.’) Repeat the process until all of the filling is used.

The empanadas can be frozen at this point, or placed onto a greased baking sheet. If baking right away, chill the filled empanadas for a few minutes. Prick the top of each empanada twice with a fork. Beat 2 egg yolks with 2 Tbsp. water and brush egg wash over each empanada. Bake 20 to 25 minutes in a 375 degree oven, or until golden brown.

Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm with lime wedges.

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