Tania’s Beef Empanadas

Photographer: Adam
Makes approx 25

Gerardo is one of our cooktop engineers. Hailing from Argentina, he is now settled in Dunedin with his Kiwi wife Tania and their three boys. Some months back, Gerardo bragged to me about Tania’s empanadas, even suggesting they were as good as his own Mother’s! This high praise piqued my interest, and after a little gentle persuasion, last week Tania came in and spent the morning in the cooking lab with us, sharing her empanada making skills.

“My family love these empanadas, it’s something we eat at home, usually on special occasions, and it reminds us all of the time we spent living in Argentina.  While my vibrant Argentinean mother in law taught me how to make these empanadas, she also taught me that food is more than something you eat, it brings people together, it’s fun to make, and even better to share. Enjoy!”


300g mince (cheap fatty mince is best for this recipe)
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
2 tbsp rice bran oil
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper
1 medium potato, very finely cubed and boiled until tender
2 eggs, hardboiled
2 large or 3 medium spring onions
65g green pitted olives (plain or stuffed with peppers)
750g savoury short pastry, pre-rolled sheets make this easy


1.Heat oil in a medium-sized frying pan and sauté onions until translucent. Add mince and brown. Add spices and season to taste. (Keep in mind the olives will add a salty note later.) Cook for a few minutes more, then add cooked potato and combine. Leave mince filling to cool. At this stage the filling can be refrigerated overnight to allow the flavours to infuse.
2. Chop spring onions, finely slice olives and peel and chop boiled eggs. Reserve.
3. Roll pastry out to approx 2-3mm thick. Cut into approximately 12cm rounds.
4. Preheat oven to 180ºC on Fan Forced, line two baking trays.
5. Spread cooled mince filling out in a wide, shallow dish. Top with spring onions, olives and eggs.
6. To fill, take a dessertspoon full of filling, place in the centre of a pastry round and moisten the edge of the round with a little water on your finger. Fold over and press to together, creating a half moon shape.
7. To seal the empanadas, starting at one end, pinch the edge of the pastry between your thumb and forefinger and twist, pressing the pastry back onto itself. Repeat over and over, creating a braided edge to the empanada. Alternatively you can press the edges with a fork.
8. Lay on prepared baking trays, brush with a little eggwash and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.
Serve warm, with a simple tomato sauce of fresh tomatoes, salt, pepper and ground chilli all processed in a blender.

Some other filling suggestions:
Substitute the beef mince with chicken mince, just use a little more oil.
Small cubes of cheese, onions cooked with paprika, and the same spring onion, olive and egg mix as above. Delish!