Does it seem counter-productive to make spend a morning making pastry and a savory filling in order to make use of a half-pound of thawed ground beef? Not at all! These spicy turnovers are worth the effort, and if you make the full recipe, you’ll be rewarded with lots of little pastries to stash in the freezer for the upcoming holiday season. These are the work of one of my favorites, chef and food writer, David Tanis. I chose to make half the recipe (I only had that half-pound of beef), but next time I’ll go for it. The dough is similar to a “hot water” dough that is used for savory pies. You can use lard or butter, but it’s my understanding that lard is more traditional for empanadas. Add the flour gradually to the liquid components of the dough, and knead it until smooth and resilient. Once chilled, the dough is easy to work with and rolls out in a jiffy. Minced beef is more traditional for the filling, but I used what I had, and it tasted delicious mixed with onions, garlic, and savory herbs.
I was missing the green olives that are usually a part of the filling, and I will correct that omission the next time. I brushed the turnovers with melted butter and they came out of the oven beautifully browned and crisp-edged, (after a little longer time than the recipe had suggested). These are the perfect warm appetizer, served with a glass of Sherry or Argentinian red wine. I think that chimichurri sauce, with it’s bright green freshness, would be a great accompaniment as well. Next time…for sure!
As is my usual habit when I don’t make significant changes to a recipe, I will send you here, for the original. Enjoy!