31 October 2012

Make Empanadas at Home!

Empanadas are ubiquitous in Buenos Aires. They are breakfast, lunch, merienda, dinner, and any meal or snack in between. They are perfectly hand-held, bite-sized, pockets of deliciousness that are cheap and easy, just the way I like it. They are baked or fried, doughy and crispy, and stuffed with meats, cheeses, and veggies, and Sandro and I indulge a couple times a week. At $4-5 pesos (~$1 USD) a pop, you can't really beat this perfect little food. So with a few simple ingredients and some patience, I made them at home. Here's how it went:

I got the cheap empanada wrappers from the grocery store, a handful of fresh mushrooms, some sharp cheese, and black beans. This is not a traditional empanada stuffing, but I thought I'd be creative! Typically empanadas will come stuffed with carne (beef), jamón y queso (ham and cheese), pollo (chicken), cebolla y queso (onion and cheese), atún (tuna), caprese (cheese, tomato, and oregano), or a few other combinations.
I started by sauteeing the mushrooms in olive oil with garlic, salt, and black pepper so that they were just browned. I lined my ingredients up into a conveyor line that would have made Henry Ford proud.

I took each empanada wrapper and topped it with a pinch of cheese and mushrooms. I decided to leave the beans out as they were too big and seemed excessive. I expected the wrappers to be difficult to work with but they were actually super easy! I used a take-out menu that showed drawings of the different styles as a guide to wrapping them up. Traditionally, each filling is wrapped in a specific style, so as to tell them apart when ready to eat. I only used one kind of filling, but experimented with the various styles for fun.

I would have preferred to bake the empanadas, but as is the norm here, our oven is old timey and I am too nervous to light it. So they went into a pan of vegetable oil over medium heat. I flipped them after a couple minutes, or until they were nice and crispy brown. When both sides looked good, I put the empanadas on a plate with a paper towel to soak up some of the excess oil and let them cool for a minute.

And so Sandro and I enjoyed our own delicious hand made empanadas right here at home. I made six for about $10 ARS ($2.10 USD). About the price for two if we would have bought them out!


  1. Mmmm...These look delish, can't wait to try to make some ourselves!

  2. Do it! It's so much easier than I expected! You could even make a tiny one for Feta...