Empanadas—mini versions of the traditional Spanish meat pie—are generally baked in Buenos Aires, not fried as they are in the rest of Latin America. This recipe, filled with a spicy beef filling, first appeared in our October 2013 issue with the article Lunch at Your Leisure. See our step-by-step guide to shaping empanadas »
For the Dough
- 1 cup water
- 3⁄4 cup lard
- 2 3⁄4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
For the Filling
- 1⁄3 cup olive oil
- 1 lb. boneless beef shoulder, trimmed and finely chopped
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. Spanish hot paprika
- 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground white pepper, plus more to taste
- 2 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and finely chopped
Make the dough: Heat water and lard in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat until lard has melted, about 3 minutes; let cool slightly. Whisk flour and salt in a large bowl; make a well in the center of flour mixture. Slowly stir in lard mixture until a wet dough forms. Using your hands, knead until dough is smooth, about 2 minutes. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; chill for 2 hours.
Make the filling: Heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Season beef with salt; cook until browned, 8–10 minutes. Transfer beef to a bowl; set aside. Add bell pepper and onion to pan; cook until golden, 12–14 minutes. Add cumin, paprika, chile flakes, and white pepper; cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add bell pepper mixture to bowl with beef; let cool. Stir in eggs, salt, and white pepper.
Heat oven to 375°. Divide dough into twelve 2" balls. On a lightly floured surface, and using a rolling pin, roll out dough balls into 5" circles. Place about 3 tbsp. filling in the center of each dough circle. Fold dough in half over the filling, forming a half circle, then use your fingers to gently press and seal the edges. To make a “rope” around the edge, dog-ear one corner of the half circle. Move along the curved edge and pinch 1⁄2" of dough next to the dog-ear, stretching it toward you, before folding it back so it overlaps the dog-eared edge. Continue to pinch and fold the dough in 1⁄2" sections, slightly overlapping each previous fold, until you reach the opposite corner. Place empanadas on a baking sheet; bake until golden brown, 30–35 minutes.