Shake up Empanada Day with your fix of hearty rich Argentinian beef empanadas and a glass of juicy Malbec from Mendoza.
Particularly popular in Argentina (where, as the local saying goes, there are as many variations of empanadas as there are cooks) and a typical dish across all cuisines of Latin America, these crescent shaped little pastries have their origins in northern Spain and Portugal, where they first appeared during the time of the Moorish rule.
If you are looking for the perfect party food, don’t look any further then empanadas. Wrapped in a pastry dough and then either baked or fried, they are the ideal hand-held food. They also come with a large range of hearty fillings from beef to poultry, pork, ham, cheese, seafood, and vegetables – or a combination thereof. In addition, empanadas could veer towards the sweet side as well, being stuffed with fruits.
Thus, you can easily play around with different flavours and ingredients.
What’s more, empanadas are just the best food if you want to host an ‘assemble your own food’ cook out. Simply set up a buffet with different ingredients, have the dough ready (ideally already rolled out and shaped into little circles) and let your guests make their own filling.
My version of empanadas was inspired by the classic Argentinian beef empanadas, though I have substituted the peas with bell pepper and added some chili, entirely due to personal preference.
They are the perfect match with a nice juicy Argentinian Malbec.
This typically medium-bodied dry red with impressions of dark fruits and light tannins is right up on my plate. It’s one of the most reliable wines and while the variety originally comes from France, today the best Malbec wines are made in Argentina.
Dieter Meier Winery, Mendoza, Argentina
Artist and filmmaker Dieter Meier is perhaps best known as founder of YELLO, one of the pioneering bands in electronic pop music.
He has also been one of the first to realize the huge winegrowing potential of the Mendoza region, where he purchased around 380 hectares of land in the 1990s.
The Dieter Meier winery, officially retailing under the Ojo de Agua label, strictly follows organic and sustainable winegrowing methods.
Tasting Notes: Dieter Meier Puro Malbec 2018
Grapes for the Puro Malbec are harvested at high-altitude vineyards at Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza. Thanks to the cool nights in the area, vines are ripening late, which allows the grapes to reach a perfect ripeness and develop a great balance of alcohol and tannins while maintaining a refreshing acidity.
In the glass, an intense red with purple hues.
On the nose, fruit-forward aromas of red berries followed by notes of cherries and espresso.
On the palate, medium-bodied and well-balanced and light tannins.
Recipe: Beef Empanadas With Avocado Sour Cream Dip
Yields 10 empanadas
For the dough
200 g all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
40 g cold butter, in cubes
90 ml cold water
1 large egg
For the filling
350 g ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 glove, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
70 g tomatoes, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 green chili, chopped
80 g shredded cheese (cheddar or similar)
1 egg, beaten
For the avocado sour cream dip
1 ripe avocado, mashed
200 g sour cream
In a bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking powder. Knead in butter, then add water and egg and continue to knead until obtaining a soft dough.
Form dough into a ball, cover with cling film and refrigerate of one hour.
Preheat oven to 200°C.
In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and fry until translucent for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Add ground beef and cook another 5 minutes until no longer pink.
Drain the fat from the skillet then return over medium heat. Stir in the tomato paste, oregano, cumin and paprika. Season with salt and pepper.
Add tomatoes, bell pepper, and chili and cook for 3-4 minutes. Set aside until needed.
Dived the dough.
On a slightly floored work surface, roll out the first batch to about 3-4 millimetres. Cut out circles of about 10 cm.
Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Knead together the surplus dough, re-roll and cut out more cycles.
Moisten the edge of the cycles with cold water. Place about 1.5 to 2 tablespoons of the filling in the centre of the rounds. Top with cheese.
Fold the dough in half over the filling. Pinch the edges together with a fork.
Place the empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Brush empanadas with the lightly beaten egg.
Bake for about 25 minutes until lightly golden.
In the meantime, mix sour cream and avocado. Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lime juice.