Empanadas Recipe

Cooking in Language: Empanadas

September 16, 2014

The Middlebury Interactive approach to language learning focuses on using language in everyday activities. One fun and easy way parents and students can continue language learning at home is by preparing meals using recipes in the languages they are studying.  

Following step-by-step recipe instructions in other languages will help you improve vocabulary comprehension and apply what you are learning to real-life situations. Since food is such a big part of defining a culture, preparing a meal in language also connects you with people from other countries.  Oh, and it also provides a delicious reward at the end of the process. 

One dish I like to make with my family is empanadas. There are several types of empanada recipes throughout Latin America, some sweet, some savory. I have yet to eat an empanada, though, that wasn't delicious! My friend Maria taught me how to make empanadas when I was living on the Texas-Mexico border a few years back. The area is rich with Mexican and Mexican-American traditions and food. Additionally, there are many Spanish-speaking individuals from all over the world living there, including Maria, who was from Argentina. This is a Spanish-language recipe for empanadas from her country. I hope you enjoy!  

Empanada Recipe en Español

  • 1 kilo de harina
  • 1 cucharadita de sal molida
  • 400 gramos de mantequilla fría, en trocitos
  • 1 kilo de carne de res, con una sola molida
  • 4 manojos de cebollitas cambray, lavadas y con rabo (bulbo y rabo picados por separado)
  • 250 gramos de pasas
  • Sal, pimienta, comino y páprika
  • 250 gramos de aceitunas deshuesadas
  • 4 huevos cocidos, pelados y rebanados
  • Agua, la necesaria
  • Aceite, el necesario

Modo de Preparación

Preparación: hora  ›  Cocción: 30 min  ›  Tiempo extra: hora refrigerando  › Listo en: horas 30 min 

  1. Forma una fuente con la harina y la sal sobre la mesa de trabajo o superficie plana.
  2. Incorpora con una espátula la mantequilla, sin amasar. Agrega poco a poco el agua, hasta que quede una masa arenosa pero unida.
  3. Extiende la masa en forma de rectángulo y dobla tres veces. Vuelve a extender y doblar tres veces. Repite el procedimiento una vez más para lograr una pasta tipo hojaldre.
  4. Cubre la masa con una servilleta de cocina húmeda y refrigera durante una hora.
  5. Mientras, prepara el relleno. Calienta el aceite en un sartén amplio a fuego medio-alto, agrega la cebolla y fríe hasta que se vea transparente. Agrega la carne y sancocha hasta que la carne haya perdido su color rojo, entre 15 y 20 minutos.
  6. Luego incorpora las pasas y cocina durante 5 minutos más. Por último, agrega los rabos de la cebolla y sazona el picadillo sal, pimienta y páprika. Cocina durante otros 5 minutos más y retira del fuego. Es muy importante que se enfríe completamente antes de rellenar las empanadas.
  7. Saca la masa del refrigerador y extiende sobre la mesa con un rodillo hasta que quede de 4 milímetros de grueso. Corta círculos de 15 centímetros de diámetro y procede a rellenar.
  8. Coloca una porción de carne sobre cada círculo de masa, agrega una rebanada de huevo cocido y aceitunas al gusto. Dobla para formar la empanada y sella las orillas presionando con sus dedos o un tenedor.
  9. Fríe en aceite bien caliente hasta que queden doradas y retira el exceso de grasa con papel absorbente.
  10. Si prefieres hornear las empanadas, barniza con huevo batido antes de meterlas en el horno precalentado a 180° centígrados. Hornea durante alrededor de 30 minutos, o hasta que queden doradas.


Nota: Esta receta puede encontrarse en la edición impresa de "La Receta del Día" de Ana María González Martínez.

Empanada Recipe in English

  • 8 cups of flour 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 3/4 cups of cold, diced butter 
  • 2 pounds of ground beef
  • 4 bunches of spring onions, washed and chopped (bulb and tail separately)
  • 9 ounces of raisins
  • Salt, pepper, cumin and paprika
  • 9 ounces of pitted olives
  • 4 boiled, peeled and sliced eggs
  • Water, as necessary
  • Oil, as necessary

Preparation Method

Preparation: 1 hour > Cooking: 30 min > Extra time: 1 hour cooling > Ready in: 2 hours 30 min

  1. Form a fountain with the flour and salt on the desk or flat surface.
  2. Incorporate the butter with a spatula, without kneading. Add little by little water until it is a gritty but united mass. 
  3. Stretch the dough into a rectangle and fold three times. Repeat the procedure once more to achieve a type puff paste. 
  4. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and refrigerate for one hour. 
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Heat oil in a large medium-high heat pan, add the onion and fry until it looks transparent. Add meat and parboiled until meat has lost its red color, 15 to 20 minutes. 
  6. Incorporate raisins and cook for 5 more minutes. Finally add the onion stalks and season the salt, pepper and paprika hash. Cook for another 5 minutes and remove from heat. It is very important to cool completely before filling empanadas. 
  7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and lying on the table with a rolling pin until it is 4 mm thick. Cuts circles 15 inches in diameter and proceeds to fill.
  8. Place a portion of meat on each circle of dough; add a slice of boiled egg and olives to taste. Fold to form the pie and seal the edges by pressing with your fingers or a fork. 
  9. Fry in hot oil until golden brown and remove excess oil with paper towels. 
  10. Optional: if you prefer to bake pies, varnished with beaten egg before putting them in a preheated oven at 180° Celsius. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Note: This recipe can be found in the print edition of "The Recipe of the Day" by Ana María Martínez González.

Do you have a favorite recipe for empanadas, or another global dish? Share it in the comments or on our social channels!

Photo courtesy of stu_spivack on Flickr

Leigh Cherry
Leigh Cherry is a native of Tennessee and a true southerner at heart. She picked up Spanish and Portuguese along the way, and has made language teaching and development her profession. Leigh is a graduate of Brigham Young University with an MA in Spanish Pedagogy and is a lover of languages, music, living in new places and food.
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