Uruguayan Empanadas

As you know, I am from Uruguay. I come from a culture of GREAT FOOD. We have a lot of European culture mixed in our own, and food is one of those. We eat a lot of Italian food, especially homemade pasta.
Empanadas is something we eat all the time, and we either fry them or we bake them. You can buy the discs in the store now (you need to go to a Mexican or Hispanic store) from the brand GOYA. They are really high in fat though, and as you know, I like to make food healthier for my family. Whenever my mom would make empanadas, they would disappear  as soon as she was getting them into a plate. I still have not tasted an empanada that is better then my mom’s! They are also very versatile, you can stuff them with pretty much anything, from savory to sweet. The traditional empanada is made with “Beef Picadillo.” This is pretty much ground beef, spices, hard boiled eggs and olives. I made mine with ground turkey, since we do not eat too much red meat.
So here is the recipe. It is kind of time consuming, but the results are worth it!
For the dough

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of smart balance butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup of lukewarm milk
  • 1 egg yolk
For the Picadillo:
  • 1 lbs of ground turkey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1/2 chopped pepper
  • green olives, optional
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
First, put in the food processor the flour and the salt, and pulse to mix. Then add the butter and pulse to mix well. Add the yolk and mix. Slowly and while the food processor is running, add the milk until the mix turns into a ball.
Then cover and chill in the refrigerator for an hour. Meanwhile, you can start the picadillo.
In a pan and with a little olive oil, sautee the onions and the pepper. When the onions get translucent, add the ground turkey and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the spices and cook until is no longer pink. Taste for salt.
If you want, while you are making the dough you can boil the eggs so they are ready and cooled to be shredded when the turkey is all cooked. Add the eggs and the olives. Cool. The filling needs to be cold before putting it in the dough.
Now you have to roll the dough, at about 1/2 cm thick. Using a small plate, cut around it to make circles. I use a plate and a cup for smaller empanadas.
After the filling cools, it’s time to fill them. Put a tablespoon of the filling on one side of the circle. If the circle is bigger, probably two TBSP but do not overfill.
This is a picture of my “cup-sized” empanada.
Fold the other side over the filling, and seal them in this manner:
Take the tip left of the fold and tuck it on top. Then grab from the bottom and fold it over the top, and so and so until you reached the tip right of the empanada. You can also seal them by pressing a fork into the “seam,” it works well too. Pinch with a fork for the steam to escape while baking. At this point you can put them in the refrigerator until ready to bake or you can bake them immediately at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. Before baking I do a egg wash using the egg white leftover from the dough and mix it with a little water and brush the empanadas with it for shine and color.
I made some with ham and cheese for the kids.
After they bake, they look like this:

You can also make them small enough to be little appetizers or sliders for a party.
In Uruguay, we eat them and we drink “mate.” YUMMY!

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16 thoughts on “Uruguayan Empanadas

  1. I am your newest follower! I am from Buenos Aires, and my recipe for empanadas is very similar to yours, but I also include raisins. I buy the dough already cut in circles, 2 dozen per pack, at my local Argentine restaurant called the Pasta Connection, but yours looks more delicious!

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  2. I'm so excited that I've found your blog! My mother is from Uruguay and so I LOVE empanadas, maté and dulce de leche. I'm looking forward to trying out your recipe – I still haven't perfected it. Thanks for sharing! saritaagerman.blogspot.it

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