Empanadas_HLooking for great foods to make and freeze for the lazy, cold months ahead? I have one word for you: EMPANADAS.

The first time I ever had empanadas was courtesy of my friend Juan’s mom, who was the master after living several years in Argentina. I still haven’t found any that can compare to hers, but these recipes (from my friend Teresa, who spent a few years teaching in South America) come close.

If you’ve never had empanadas, they’re stuffed pastry pockets of savory deliciousness, varying in “stuffings” from beef to chicken to potatoes to olives to veggies to beans and even fruit, with every combo in between. Here’s a brief history, if you’re so inclined.

RollingDoughFirst, the Dough

I tried several, and this is my favorite thus far. I’m also told they sell great premade pastry discs in South America, so if you can track down some of those, even better (and easier)!

This should be enough for one of the recipes below. Double it, if you want to try both.

2c flour
1t salt
1t baking powder
1/2c lard
1/2c water

Mix flour, salt, and baking powder in large bowl. Cut in lard until the mix resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add water, stirring until it forms a ball of dough. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead for five minutes or until pliable. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and keep cold while you prepare your filling.

When your filling is ready to go, roll the dough to 1/8 inch thick and cut into rounds (I used the lip of a metal bowl) that are about 4-6 inch in diameter, depending on how large you’d like your empanadas to be: appetizer size or full serving.

Stuffing Idea #1: Beef, Onion, and Red Pepper

Empanadas_BeefRedPepper1# ground beef
1 onion, minced
1-2 red bell peppers, minced
1-4 garlic cloves, minced (depending on your intensity preference)
small handful fresh oregano, minced, or 1t dried
small handful fresh parsley, minced, or 1t dried

handful of olives (usually green), chopped
1-3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
handful of raisins
paprika to taste

Cook beef, onions, red peppers, garlic, and spices over medium-high heat in a skillet. If the mix seems dry, beat an egg or two and mix it in. Remove from heat and add any optional ingredients you choose.

Place a spoonful of filling on each empanada shell, making sure not to overfill them. (You’ll get the hang of this through trial and error.) Fold over and pinch to seal. Tip: A quick wipe of water around the edge of the shell will help it close better.

For that nice, golden look, brush the top of the empanadas with a beaten egg. Then bake between 375-400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Stuffing Idea #1: Roasted Butternut Squash and White Bean

Empanadas_ButternutWhiteBean1 small butternut squash (about 2#), washed, dried, roasted
1c canned white beans (cannellini), drained and rinsed
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2T olive oil
small handful fresh parsley, minced, or 1t dried
small handful fresh thyme, minced, or 1t dried
1/2t ground coriander
1/2t salt

See Argentine with a Twist for full cooking and assembly instructions.

And here’s an idea… Make a bunch to share and swap meals with a friend or two for the week!

Have your own favorite empanada or make-and-freeze recipes? Please share!

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