When I was traveling throughout South America, one of my favorite snacks was an empanada or what the Bolivians call it, a saltena. This delicious, inexpensive, and filling snack was something that I had looked forward to each day when walking the streets of Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. This pastry snack normally is filled with a variety of meat, fruit, or cheese. Often these pastries are baked or fried.
While I was in Mendoza, my hostel offered a free cooking class on how to make the infamous empanadas. I decided to take notes and bring it back to the states!
In Chile, a popular empanada is an empanada de pino consisting of meat, spices, onions, olives, raisins, and a hard boiled egg. Below are the steps on how to replicate a taste of South America in your own home:
Empanada De Pino
1 1/2 lb ground meat – I used beef; however, chuck steak is commonly used
2 onions chopped
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp cumin
3 tsp paprika
1 egg for brushing
Marie Sharp’s Hot Sauce from Belize – as spicy as you want it
salt and pepper to taste
4oz sliced olives
1/4 cup raisins
2 hard boiled eggs chopped
1 1/2 TBSP olive oil
Empanada Pastries – you can make your own dough or go to your specialty store and find ready made pastries.
1. Read the directions of your empanada pastries and follow.
2. Saute both the meat and onions until the onions are translucent. Add all of the spices, hot sauce, salt and pepper and cook until everything is mixed in well and the meat is ready. Set aside. Make sure the meat is cooled before you assemble the empanada.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I had my pastries lined out so that it was ready for me to use per the directions on my package.
4. Add 1 1/2 TBSP meat mixture, couple raisins and olives, and a piece of hard boiled egg. Then fold one edge of the dough to the other side creating a half moon. Fold the ends and you can either use a fork to crimp the edges or if you know of some fancy cooking skills by all means.
5. Brush the egg over the empanadas. Bake for about 20 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees until it is golden brown.