Lunch Fit for a Gaucho

Argentine Empanadas

The empanada was brought over to Argentina by the Spaniards in the 16th century. "Empanar" means to wrap in bread dough. These delicious savory fried or baked meat pies are a staple in Argentina. The empanada is ubiquitous throughout the country. There are as many variations of empanadas as there are provinces. They are sold everywhere in street fairs, marketplaces, restaurants and in Argentine homes as an easy weeknight meal or at parties.

These buttery and flakey Mendoza style empanadas are baked and filled with savory minced beef, onions, red bell peppers, green olives and hard boiled eggs. It is traditionally served with a spicy, tangy, and herbaceous chimichurri sauce on the side.

When you visit Buenos Aires, empanadas are a must! What's more they're portable and hearty, lunch fit enough for the working man or, in Argentina's case, the working gaucho.


For dough:

All purpose flour (1 cup)

Cold water (6 tbs)

Egg (1 large)

Cold butter in cut into cubes (1 cup)

Baking powder (1/2 tsp)

Salt (1/2 tsp)

Sugar (4 tbs + 1 tsp)

For picadillo (meat filling):

Ground beef (1 lb)

Butter (1 tbs)

Yellow onion finely minced (2 medium)

Red bell pepper finely minced (1 half)

Garlic finely minced (2 cloves)

Smoked paprika (1 1/2 tbs)

Cumin (1 tsp)

Green olives pitted cut in slices (6 olives)

Hard boiled eggs quartered (2 large)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Crushed red pepper to taste

For chimichurri:

Parsley (1/2 cup tightly packed)

Fresh Oregano (2 tbs)

Garlic finely crushed and minced (4 cloves)

Green onions finely minced (1/2 cup)

Fresno chili finely minced seeds and veins may be removed based on heat preference (1)

Red wine vinegar (2 tbs)

Fresh lemon juice (1 tbs)

Olive oil (1/2 cup)

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional herbs: cilantro, thyme, basil

Prepare Chimichurri Sauce:

  1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.

2. Refrigerate for 24 - 48 hours.

Prepare picadillo:

  1. In a medium skillet heat butter over medium heat.

2. Sautee onions until translucent and add garlic. Sautee until garlic is fragrant.

3. Add minced beef and sautee until browned.

4. Add red bell pepper, paprika (1 1/2 tbs), cumin (1 tsp), salt, pepper, and crushed

chili pepper to taste. Sautee until well combined and flavors meld.

5. Remove from heat and transfer in bowl, mix in chopped green olives (6).

6. Set aside to cool for assembly.

Prepare dough:

  1. Combine dry ingredients: All purpose flour (1 cup), Baking powder (1/2 tsp), Salt (1/2 tsp), Sugar (4 tbs + 1 tsp). Mix well with whisk.

2. Cut the butter into small pieces into the dry ingredients. The mixture should

resemble coarse sand.

3. Gradually add water and mix all ingredients with hands until a dough is formed.

4. Divide the dough into individual pieces. Roll into a balls. Set in a cool dry place for

20 minutes.

5. Flatten the dough with the palm of your hand and roll dough into a round

shape with edge 1/4 inch thick.


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Take 1/4 cup picadillo and a 1/4 of hard boiled egg and place in middle of dough round. Fold the dough in half until ends meet and press the edges to seal.

3. Take the tines of the fork and press the around the edges.

4. When all the empanada have been assembled. Beat egg white and glaze the

empanadas with a pastry brush.

5. Bake in the oven at 400F for 25 minutes until empanada is golden brown.

6. Serve hot with chimichurri sauce.

Culture grows around the kitchen table. I love making food from around the world and learning about their culture. See more in my @tinyhappykitchen on Instagram or join my discussion forum #MoskowitzCooks on Fishbowl.

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