Vanessa Levis

These spicy meat turnovers are popular in several Latin American countries. Fillings vary from region to region, and the empanadas may be baked or deep-fried.



Quantity Ingredient
450g flour
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
250g butter or lard, diced
cold water


Quantity Ingredient
1/2 cup oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1kg lean stewing beef, trimmed and cut into 5 mm dice
2 teaspoons plain flour
1/2 cup beef stock
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
1/4 cup pitted, chopped green olives
1/3 cup sultanas


  1. To make the pastry, sift the flour, paprika and salt together, and rub in the fat. Using a knife, stir in enough water to make a fairly stiff dough. Knead lightly, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  2. To prepare the filling, heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and fry gently until golden brown. Add the tomato and paprika and cook slowly until soft.
  3. Add the meat, flour, stock, cumin, salt to taste and chilli. Stir until the mixture comes to the boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, then remove the lid and cook rapidly for 5–10 minutes to reduce the liquid by half. Allow to cool.
  4. Divide the pastry into pieces about the size of an egg. Roll each piece thinly to form an 18 cm circle. Put 2 tablespoons of the meat filling, 1 teaspoon chopped egg, 1/2 teaspoon chopped olives and a few sultanas in the centre of each pastry circle.
  5. Spread the filling over half the circle, leaving a 2 cm border. Moisten the edges of the pastry and fold over to make turnovers, pressing the edges firmly together.
  6. Pinch the edge between thumb and finger and fold the pinched part over onto the unpinched part. Alternatively, fold the pastry circle to within 1 cm of the opposite edge, fold the lower half over the upper and crimp. Chill the empanadas for 20 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake the empanadas for 15 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
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