The Spiced Beef recipe from “Around the Fire” is the very first recipe in the cookbook, found on pg. 32. The Argentinian style of empanadas are served at Ox Restaurant in Portland, Oregon, and they are fabulous. The equally excellent and might I say perfect Ecuadorian Old World Empanada Pastry recipe is on pg. 242.
Initially, I was a little disappointed that I could not just bake these empanadas as the pastry recipe advises fry only. I purchased sunflower oil and filled my Dutch oven with a few inches of oil, maybe 2 cups worth, and frying was actually a breeze. Pictured above are empanadas that were fried and refrigerated, photo shoot was taken the next day after taking them right out of the fridge.
The assembly of the empanadas is quite labor intensive and time consuming, so plan accordingly. It took me approximately 2 hours to complete the entire recipe from making the dough to filling and frying. I still have not gotten that beautiful crimping fold down but I must say the meat mixture and the empanada dough are really tasty.
The Spiced Beef Filling: I made a few substitutions for the filling. Instead of 4 Tbls of butter I used 1 Tbls. of butter to sauté the garlic and onions and it was plenty to get the job done and coat all of the onions nicely. I also reduced the sodium from 1 1/2 Tbls to 1 1/2 tsp and even so, I found the mixture to be quite flavorful. I added an extra 1/4 cup of raisins because I love the sweetness of the raisins when I bite into an empanada.
The Dough: I love this dough recipe even if it is not recommended for baking. This is not the greatest picture although you can still see all of the beautiful yellow dots of butter throughout this dough. I made the dough in the food processor according to directions and I used all the soda water called for in the recipe. The dough was still slightly crumbly when I turned it out onto my board but it came together in about 8-10 kneading turns. I wrapped it in plastic wrap and let it rest for 1 hour according to directions. When it came time to roll out the dough, it was super easy to roll out and work with and it smelled unbelievably buttery and heavenly. I was able to use a metal cutter to cut out circles and the and the disks of dough did not stick together. I used a parchment lined sheet pan to quickly cool the disks in the freezer and I was ready to fill the disks with spiced beef filling. The egg wash is definitely necessary due to the dough not being very sticky. I love how this dough fried up, it really did not take on very much oil and the final product did not taste greasy in the least bit.