This month My Kitchen My World traveled to Argentina.

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And it was a delicious stay. Trying to find just the right recipe was not an easy task. There have been so many countries through history that have influenced the cuisine, like just about every other country in the world, that there was a lot to choose from But finding an historically traditional Argentine recipe (Did you know they have Gnocchi Thursdays?) was not so easy. Thankfully I had help from several sources. So….

For lunch the other day we had….

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    ….Empanadas de Carne

for lunch. It seems every culture has some type of meat pie in their cuisine. The English call them Hand Pies and they were common fare for the working man. In India, Pakistan, and other countries of that area one will find Samosas. Kreatopitas in Greece, Pierogies in Poland, and Biff paj in Sweden, Chinese Pot Stickers/Dumplings (aka Gyoza in Japan). And in the South we have Meat Pies as well. The Spanish Empanada is very similar to the ones here in the deep south. That could very well be due to the Spanish influence in our early history. In Argentina there is a slight twist on the Spanish Empanada as you will see in the recipe.

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    Empanada de Carne
      BEEF FILLING
      3 tablespoons vegetable oil
      1 large white onion (about 12 ounces),finely chopped
      1 pound ground chuck
      1 bunch scallions, white and half the green part, thinly sliced, about 3/4 cup
      1 teaspoon salt
      1/4 cup sugar
      1 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
      1 tablespoon qji molido or sweet Spanish paprika {I used Spanish smoked Paprika}
      3/4 cup pitted Spanish green olives
      5 Large eggs, hard-cooked and chopped

To prepare the filling, heat the oil over medium heat in a large saute pan and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is limp and translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the ground beef with a wooden spoon and break up any lumps with the spoon. Cook the beef until it is no longer raw-looking, or until any accumulated water in the pan evaporates and the beef is sizzling, about 10 minutes. Scrape the beef mixture into a large mixing bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients, one at a time. Taste the filling for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the filling until you are ready to form the empanadas. The filling will keep well for up to 3 days.

To form the empanada crusts, remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a floured surface. Flour the dough and roll it to a 20-inch square. Use a plate or a cardboard pattern as a guide to cut the dough into 5-inch disks

To fill the empanadas, place 2 tablespoons of the filling on the lower half of 1 disk of dough. {I did not include the dough recipe. I used my go-to pie crust recipe and it was perfect.} Use a brush or fingertip to moisten the edge of the dough with the sugar syrup. Fold the dough over to cover the filling and meet the other end of the crust. Press firmly with fingertips to seal the 2 layers of dough together. Starting at one
side of the edge, make a small fold about 1/4 inch deep from the outside of the empanada toward the center, or seal by pressing hard with the tines of a fork. Continue making little folds until you reach the other end of the semicircular side of the empanada. Repeat with the remaining crusts and filling.

The Empanadas are sealed with a sugar syrup.

    SUGAR SYRUP FOR SEALING THE EMPANADAS
    3/4 cup water
    2 tablespoons sugar

To prepare the sugar syrup, bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring a couple of times to make sure the sugar has dissolved. Cool the Syrup store it in a covered jar in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

To fry the empanadas, heat the oil in a large Dutch oven to 375 degrees. Fry 3 or 4 empanadas at a time. As they are fried, drain them on one of the prepared pans. Repeat with the remaining empanadas, making sure that the oil does not start to foam and boil over.
Drain on paper towels.

These are best devoured eaten the day they are made.

I found this recipe in Nick Malgieri’s A Baker’s Tour (page 300) They are from Ana Rambaldi and are from her native Argentina. What makes these different, says Ana – “…is flavored with an Argentine type of crushed red pepper that not hot, called aji molido, or ground pepper, you can substitute sweet Spanish paprika, but the taste will not be exactly the same. In typical South American fashion, the meat filling here is sweetened with sugar. Most Americans would probably prefer less sugar or none at all-the choice is up to you.”

What also makes them different is the inclusion of the boiled eggs and Spanish olives. Deliciously different!

After that we needed a sweet.

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How about Tarta de Coco y Dulce de Leche | Coconut and Dulce de Leche Tart which I found on Katie’s Site. Katie is from Philly, living outside of Buenos Aires and learning to cook the local dishes. This one is a simple tart with a layer of Dulce de Leche covered with a tasty coconut custard. One half of the recipe yielded 3 mini tarts. Perfect.

Come by and visit with us at My Kitchen My World. Next month we are visiting…….

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