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South American Empanada Recipes

How to Make the Best Empanadas

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To the novice eye, the stuffed pastry known as an empanada might look the same from country to country in South America, but there are distinct differences in each region. Most countries have a basic beef version and chicken version. Ham and cheese, potatoes, chile peppers, vegetables, seafood, hearts of palm, tropical fruits...whatever is available and popular in a particular region is usually featured in the local empanadas.

1. What are Empanadas?

Marian Blazes
Empanadas are stuffed pastries that are very popular in South America. Empanadas probably came to South America with the Spaniards, but they quickly took on their own distinctive style and flavor in the New World. South American empanadas often have a sweet dough (sometimes they are even sprinkled with powdered sugar) that is a perfect contrast to the savory filling. Read more...

2. Empanada Dough

Marian Blazes
A basic empanada dough recipe that will work with any filling. You can use this dough to make baked or fried empanadas.

3. Tips and Techniques for Beautiful Empanadas

Marian Blazes
Learn how to make attractive empanadas with pretty decorative edges that don't leak, break, or collapse in the oven.

4. Chicken Empanadas - Empanadas de Pollo

Marian Blazes
This is a typical chicken empanada recipe, filled with a mixture of poached chicken, sautéed onions, green olives and hard boiled eggs.

5. Empanadas de Pino - Beef Empanadas from Chile

Marian Blazes
These empanadas have a filling made from ground beef, onions, black olives, raisins, and hard boiled eggs. This particular concoction is known as "pino" in Chile, and it is found in other recipes as well, such as the Chilean corn casserole called pastel de choclo.

6. Empanadas Tucumanas - Beef Empanadas from Argentina

Marian Blazes
The Tucumán region of Argentina is well known for these empanadas, which are made with finely chopped, seasoned beef that tastes a little like pot roast.

7. Colombian-style Fried Empanadas with Beef and Potato Filling

Marian Blazes
These unique and tasty empanadas have an outer crust made with masarepa, the precooked cornmeal that is used to make arepas. The filling is stewed beef (or pork) and potatoes seasoned with hogao.

8. Empanadas with Mushrooms, Chorizo, and Cheese

Marian Blazes
Leave the chorizo out of these empanadas for a delicious vegetarian version. Braid the repulgue (decorative edge) of the vegetarian empanadas in a different way so that you can distinguish them from the ones with chorizo (see picture).

9. Ham and Cheese Empanadas - Empanadas de Jamón y Queso

Marian Blazes
These empanadas, made with puff pastry dough instead of the traditional empanada dough, are popular in Peru. The creamy cheese filling is delicious, and using frozen puff pastry dough saves time.

10. Spinach and Cheese Empanadas

Marian Blazes
These delicious empanadas are filled with sautéed garlic spinach and a creamy cheese sauce.
Related Video
How to Make Empanada Dough

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