Natalia's empanadas

By Natalia Machado
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These work as a side or as the main of lunch or dinner. 



For the filling:

  • 2 medium Spanish onions, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or sunflower oil
  • 450 grams ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons red chili flakes
  • 6 green onions, green parts only, finely chopped

For the dough:

  • 200 grams flour (about 1 2/3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 40 grams lard (about 3 tablespoons)
  • Filling for savoury meat or fugazzeta empanadas
  • 3 large egg yolks beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for the egg wash


Filling directions:

  1. Sauté the onion and red pepper in a large skillet in the oil over medium-low heat, until translucent and soft, about five minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside.
  2. To the same pan, add a little more oil and sauté the beef over high heat. Once the meat has browned, reduce the heat to low and add the onions and red peppers back to the pan. Continue cooking for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the cumin, paprika, and chili flakes, and mix well. Let the filling rest in the fridge until chilled, ideally for 24 hours for the flavours to meld.
  4. Stir the green onions into the mixture before assembling the empanadas.

Dough directions:

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, and then mix together. Using your hands, rub the lard into the dough until you have a sandy texture. Add enough ice-cold water and to form the slightly stiff dough, using your hands to incorporate. Turn out to a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for five to seven minutes, or until smooth, firm, and elastic (the dough will be very firm).
  2. Divide the dough into four equal pieces, and shape each piece into a disc, wrapping each disc individually with plastic wrap. Allow to rest for one hour on the counter before using (you can also refrigerate the dough for up to 24 hours, but let it come to room temperature before using).
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Lightly dust the work surface with flour. Roll out each disc to a 3 millimeter thickness, and cut out circles with a 14 centimeter cutter (or you can cut out the same-size circle using parchment paper and then trace it with a paring knife), Reroll the dough as necessary; you should have about 20 circles in the end, making four circles with each disc.
  5. Using a 60 milliliter ice cream scoop or measuring cup, mound the filling in the centre of the dough leaving a one centimeter border. Lightly moisten the edge of the dough with a little water, and fold over into a half-moon shape and seal the edges together. Finish by making a decorative edging (see below). (The empanadas can be set aside at this point, covered in the refrigerator.)
  6. Place the empanadas on the parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Brush lightly with the egg wash, and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.


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