August 12, 2008

Empanada of the Month–Empanadas Santiagueñas


August's Empanada-of-the-Month brings us Empanadas Santiagueñas, from the northern province of Santiago del Estero.  The main difference compared with other empanadas is that the meat used is chopped rather than ground, there's more spice, and there's a sweet element added with the addition of raisins.  they are positively delicious–buttery dough filled with spicy, sweet, and the flavorful tenderloin used in these empanadas make them very special.

I got this recipe from a volume written by the venerable Doña Petrona.  At 800-something pages, it's all-inclusive and almost biblical in it's proportions–thehandbook for Argentinean housewives.   But I did update some of the things in the recipe.  The original directed that lots of lard be used in cooking the onion,  I omitted the lard and instead sauteed the onion in butter, adding flavor but not the same amount of fat.  The recipe also directed me to boil the tenderloin to cook it, I found that lightly browning the meat in a frying pan lead to a better flavor for such a good cut of meat.  If you can afford the tenderloin, get it–it's the preferred cut of meat for Empanadas Santigueñas.


Empanadas Santiagueñas

Empanadas from Santiago del Estero

2 Tablespoons butter

2 large yellow onions, chopped

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 Tablespoon of water with salt

1 pound beef tenderloin (or similar, less expensive cut)


1 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper


hard boiled egg

beaten egg

tapas (discos) for empanadas (store-bought or your own recipe from scratch)

In a medium frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook slightly.  Before it browns, add the paprika, crushed red pepper, and the spoon of water and salt.  Let cook for a minute and then turn off the heat and let cool.  The onions should be a little soft, but not browned or even translucent.

Cut the tenderloin into bite-sized cubes and brown slightly in another frying pan over medium heat.  Leave the center slightly rare, since they will be baked.  Remove from heat and add salt, cumin, vinegar and crushed red pepper.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place the tapas for empanadas on a lightly floured surface.  Sprinkle flour on a cookie sheet or round pizza pan.  Put one teaspoon of the meat and one tablespoon of the onion, 3-4 raisins, and a piece of hard-boiled egg.  Dip your finger in a cup of water, and wet the edges of the empanada round slightly with your finger.  Fold the empanada over and seal tightly, cupping the filling in your hands while sealing the dough.  Then seal around the edges of the empanada using the repulgue techniquePlace each empanada on the floured baking sheet.  Place each empanada on the floured baking sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the dough is a nice golden color.

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11 Responses to “Empanada of the Month–Empanadas Santiagueñas”

  1. I’m sitting on the empanada fence too intimidated to make my own dough. These look delicious.

  2. These look delicious — but I’ll probably make the filling and sneak it into some discos!

  3. Oh my goodness, those empanadas look positively sensational. Ah, what I wouldn’t give to have one right now?
    I love your empanada of the month series.

  4. This looks absolutely delicious! Wonderful photos, too!

  5. My mouth is watering just looking at that glorious picture, I wish I could eat one right now.

  6. These look so good! I’ll have to try these out soon. Dona Petrona is also famous in Ecuador, there’s even a brand of pastas named after her.

  7. YUM! I love epanadas with raisins. I’m still intimidated by the dough.

  8. These look fantastic! I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  9. Authentic empanada recipe. Thank you!
    It is not easy to find “tapas”(discos) where I live, but I found the perfect recipe in a cookbook called “Cooking under Wraps”. The recipe is under: Empanadas Chilenas

  10. Hi Rebecca,
    I always wonder why some empanadas called to “cut the beef”. It didn’t make sense to me since we can easily buy ground beef. But I think the mystery has been resolved! Also, I have found other recipes with ground beef where you need to pour boiling water onto the ground beef, let it stand, and then pour the water. Then you add all the other ingredients. I haven’t done it, but I guess it is a possibility.
    I heard of Dona Petrona, but I don’t have any of her books. I recently bought a book called “Panaderia”, by Monica Alvarez (ISBN 9789875503083). The recipe calls for “Harina 000” and “Harina 0000”. Do you know what would be the equivalents to flours sold here in the US? I have been looking for information over the Internet, but all I found are the same definitions, which don’t help too much. From what I read “Harina 000” might be just “All Purpose Flour”, and “Harina 0000” cake flour, but I am not sure. King Arthur Flour has a great flour selection, but again, I don’t know which one would be 000 or 0000. It’s confusing.

  11. I just subscribed to your blog, and I can’t wait to try these out – they look delicious. I have a question though – by crushed red pepper, do you mean literally taking a red pepper and crushing it?

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