There are as many variations of empanadas as there are cooks in Argentina. This version was developed by BA contributor Gaby Melian, who is from Buenos Aires and was taught as a little girl by family members how to make them. After years of perfecting her method, she prefers the empanadas baked, not fried, and the addition of green olives and raisins in the filling is essential. See step-by-step instructions here and get the chicken empanadas recipe here.
MAKES ABOUT 36
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1½ pounds ground beef (20% fat)
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded, chopped
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1½ cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ½ cup raisins
- 3 packages (12 each) Puff Pastry Dough for Turnovers/Empanadas (preferably Goya)
- ½ cup pitted green olives (Picholine or Spanish), rinsed well, cut in half lengthwise
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large pot over high. Cook beef, breaking up with a spoon, until browned but not completely cooked through, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving as much fat in pan as possible.
Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, bell peppers, and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil, stirring, until tender but not browned, 6–8 minutes; season with salt and black pepper. Add cumin, paprika, oregano, and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken stock and reserved beef along with any accumulated juices to pot. Stir in sugar, 4 tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, until most of the liquid is evaporated, 15–20 minutes; taste and season with salt and black pepper, if needed. Stir in raisins. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover, and chill at least 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 375°. Let dough sit at room temperature 15 minutes to temper. Remove 6 rounds from package, keeping plastic divider underneath, and arrange on a work surface. Place 2 Tbsp. filling in the center of each round. Top with 2 olive halves. Brush water around half of outer edge of each round. Using plastic divider to help you, fold round over filling and pinch edges to seal. Using a fork, crimp edges. Remove plastic and transfer empanada to a parchment-lined sheet tray, spacing 1″ apart. Repeat with remaining rounds (you’ll get about 12 empanadas on each tray).
Bake empanadas, rotating tray halfway through, until golden brown and slightly darker around the edges, 25–35 minutes.
Do Ahead: Filling can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled. Unbaked empanadas can be made 3 months ahead; freeze on sheet tray, then transfer to freezer bags and keep frozen.