These Argentinian stuffed pastries are packed full of flavour, and make a great addition to your lunchbox.
For the pastry
- 450g/1lb plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 60g/2¼oz butter, chilled, cut into 1cm/½in cubes
- 60g2¼oz lard, chilled, cut into 1cm/½in cubes
For the meat filling
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 green pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
- 400g/14oz lean minced beef
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 30g/1oz raisins
- 12 green olives, pitted, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp dried cumin
- pinch salt
- vegetable oil, for frying
For the pastry, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Rub in the butter and lard until the mixture has the texture of fine breadcrumbs. Add 3–6 tablespoons cold water a teaspoon at a time, mixing between additions using a table knife, until you have a soft dough. Roll the dough into a ball, wrap it in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for an hour.
For the meat filling, boil the eggs for 10 minutes, until hard boiled. Cool under running water, then peel and chop. Set to one side.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a low heat. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the green pepper and minced beef and fry over a high heat until the meat has browned. Stir in the paprika and chilli powder. Remove from the heat and add the raisins, olives, cumin and eggs. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To assemble the empanadas, remove the pastry from the fridge, and roll out to the thickness of a pound coin (3mm). Cut circles from the pastry, using a saucer or a 12cm/4½in pastry cutter.
Put 2–3 heaped teaspoons filling on one half of each pastry circle. Wet the edges of the pastry with a little water, fold the non-filled half of the pastry over the filled half, and crimp the edges or use a fork to seal. Repeat with the remaining pastry circles.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan and fry the empanadas in batches until golden and cooked through. Add more oil between batches to prevent them from sticking to the pan. Serve warm.
It’s important not to overfill the empanadas, so use your judgement when portioning the filling to prevent the pastries leaking when cooking.
Try making these into mini versions and serve with drinks as a canapé. Use a small pastry cutter to cut the pastry into small circles, using a teaspoon of filling and then sealing as per the method.