Friday, September 6, 2013

Food & Wine Festival at Home, Beef Empanadas

Last year was my first time going to the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival and I swore to myself on the flight home that I'd never miss it again.  This year's festival runs from September 27 - November 11, and it looks like I'll be pouting at home, salivating as I scroll through tweets and Instagram pics from friends who will be there.  Instead of continuing to be grouchy about breaking the promise I made to myself last November, I remembered that my wonderful husband, who can somehow see into the future, purchased the 2012 Food & Wine Festival cookbook for me.  While I won't get to romp around Epcot, eating and drinking a my way across the globe, I can prepare the same delicious food at home.  This month, I'll share the recipe for Beef Empanadas, which will be back again at Argentina during the 2013 Festival.  Check back next month for Australia's Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies (which isn't actually in the cookbook, but I'm pretty sure I've figured it out the home chef version.)

Quick foreword here...While it is easy to make, this is a labor intensive recipe. I would not attempt this during the week if you want your family to eat before bed.  This is a good one to get the kids involved with, especially those with little fingers who enjoy playing in dough.  All the ingredients were things I already had in my pantry, except for one and I'll explain what I swapped it for shortly.

What you'll need:
6 cups of all purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 pound cold vegetable shortening, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 eggs, beaten and divided
1/2 cup melted vegetable shortening or vegetable oil
1 cup ice water, divided (3/4 cup, 1/4 cup, 1/2 teaspoon)
2 cups finely chopped white onion (almost 2 medium sized onions)
1 1/4 pounds thick sliced roast beef, cut into 1/4 inch cubes.
  - Since there was no roast beef in the freezer, I used 3/4 lb of ground pork & 3/4 lb of ground chuck
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  - I would suggest using less if you aren't into spicy food
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Hand the kids the measuring cup, a bowl and the flour and salt and have them mix the two together.  Toss in the cold shortening and they can have fun working the shortening into the flour mixture so you don't destroy your fresh manicure.  Make sure it's nice and crumbly before you let them stop to clean their hands.

Beat 1 egg in a small bowl with 3/4 cup of cold water.  Slowly add the water mixture to the flour.  Stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup of water if the dough seems dry.

Call the kids back in after they've washed their hands and ask them to flour the counter and knead the dough about 6-8 turns.  Split it in half, form each piece into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap.  Take the bottle of wine out of the refrigerator so you have room to put in the dough for 30 minutes.  Have a drink and chuckle as the kids go back to the bathroom to wash their hands again.

Finely chop the onions.  If chopping onions makes your eyes water, hold a matchstick between your teeth as you chop.  I heard that tip on the movie "The Help."  It really works.  Heat the shortening or vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over low to medium heat.  Add the onions and cook for about 10 minutes, until the onions are soft, but haven't turned brown.

Can't chop onions without crying, matchstick needed!

Add the meat and all of the spices, stirring continuously until all is combined well, then let it cool for 15 minutes.  Drain most but not all of the liquid off.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Hidden Mickey?

Call the kids back in to flour the counter once more.  Roll out half of the dough to 1/8 inch thick.  The cookbook says to use a 5 inch round cutter, but since I don't have one, a plastic 7-11 Super Big Gulp holographic Iron Man 2 cup, while slightly smaller, worked just fine.  Cut 10 circles.  Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Go ahead an crack the other egg, beat it and add the 1/2 teaspoon of water.  I used my fingers, but if you have a brush, use it to brush the outside edge of each circle with the egg wash.  Spoon as much mixture as you can fit onto each circle and still be able to close it.

Fold the circle in half, enclosing the filling and firmly push the edges together.  Seal the empanada by pressing the tines of a fork around the edges.

Put the empanadas on a parchment covered baking sheet and brush each one with the egg wash that remains.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until they are golden brown.  Serve hot with salsa of your choice.

This recipe makes 20 empanadas, but I kept eating the filling, so there weren't quite 20.  I baked half of them immediately and put the other half on a flat dish and placed them in the freezer to individually freeze, so I can take them out and bake 5 or 6 at a time later.


Honorary Disney Gal - Lottie Ferguson
Twitter - @CrunchyDisneyMa


  1. This looks scrumptious! But you are right, definitely a weekend project for me. Your pic of you and your daughter at the end is too cute! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. OMG Lottie you crack me up! Between taking out the wine to "make room" and using the 7-11 cup as a cutter (been there done that) I'm still laughing. The recipe looks delish, can you mail a few my way? :)

  3. Glad you both enjoyed this. It took way more time than I expected, but there was a baby tied to my back & another begging to help. Between that and pictures, I'm sure it took an hour longer than necessary. You're super woman, could easily swing this on a weeknight.

    Kelly, I'd happily mail you a few, but the wonderful smell lingered in the house for another day; when visitors stopped by, I had to put the rest in the oven. All gone until next time, sorry!

  4. They look amazing, I'm so hungry. I will think of you when I'm at Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival next month devouring the empanadas in Argentina you've made me crave!!!!

    1. Dawn

      As luck would have it, the stars have aligned and I'll be there next month, too! Maybe I'll run into you at the Argentina booth. Enjoy!