Empanadas: Comfort food in a little puff pastry

By: Carol Guild, Content Manager
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This recipe is from “Breakfast South of the Border,” by Richard S. Calhoun.
The cookbook is available at

1/2 cup shortening
2 onions, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
3/4 teaspoon hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup pitted green olives, chopped
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
Salt to taste
1 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed

In a skillet, cook the onions in the shortening until just before they turn golden.
Add the meat, seasonings, and vinegar and cook for about 2 minutes.
Stir in remaining ingredients except the puff pastry sheets.
Cut the puff pastry sheets into 10 round circles.
Place a spoonful of the mixture on each round, fold over, and seal to prevent the filling from falling out.
Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 350 F oven for about 25 minutes until golden brown.

The aroma of warm empanadas drifts through many kitchens in Argentina at sunrise. The dish is a breakfast staple there, and is usually accompanied by a nice espresso, café con leche (coffee with milk) or yerba mate (tea).
This comfort food is made using puff pastry cut into 4-inch rounds and filled with ground beef. It incorporates savory and sweet with onions, spices and raisins. You can also brush the empanadas with egg and sprinkle with a little sugar before baking.
And to seal them well, a fork comes in handy. Just press it down along the edges of each empanada to keep all the good stuff in. Then cut a small slit in the top to release the steam.
After baking for 20 to 30 minutes, let the empanadas cool for just a few minutes before serving.
Then enjoy one of the many scents and flavors from south of the border.