A favourite snack in Argentina, empanadas are a type of pasty, usually crescent-shaped, with fillings such as beef (Argentinian steak is among the best in the world), chicken, onion, cheese, in many combinations. In Buenos Aires it is possible to order empanadas for delivery by the dozen: you can keep your take away pizza!

Empanadas, a Filipino dish of Hispanic origin, only came into Philippine cuisine with the introduction of beef cattle from Mexico. Empanadas take some work in making the pastry but are delicious portable meals. The following makes about 20 empanadas depending on how thinly the pastry is rolled.

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 cup diced potatoes (red potatoes work a little better than brown ones)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup seedless raisins

In a frying pan, brown the ground beef. After pushing the meat to one side of the pan, sauté the garlic until brown, then add the onion. Mix the meat, garlic, and onion, then add potatoes. Stir and cook the mixture until the potatoes are tender. Season the filling with salt and pepper and mix in the raisins. Set the filling aside.

Pastry (ready-made pie crust mix can be used as a substitute but isn't as tasty)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil
  • 3 egg yolks (save the egg whites for sealing the emapandas

Mix and knead all the pastry ingredients until the dough is soft. On a table or huge floured board, roll the dough out very thinly to 1/8 inch or thinner. Using a jar or cup with a 4 to 5 inch diameter and a knife if needed, cut circles out of the dough. Put a spoonful of filling in the center of each circle, then fold each into a half moon shape, wetting the edges with egg white for sealant. Press the edges together to seal. Then the empanadas can be either baked in a preheated 425ºF oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown, or deep fried until golden brown then drained.

I'm eating one right now!
I realize you are busy. I'm busy too. But after you try one of these, you can feel good about taking a pass on the frozen junk food aisle, or drive-thru window.
Breakfast Empanadas


*available at Spanish markets and many supermarkets

Preheat oven to 425°F. and butter a baking pan.

On a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin roll out each empanada wrapper into a 7-inch round. Finely grate Cheddar and in a bowl whisk together with eggs and salt and pepper to taste. Chop scallions. In a nonstick skillet heat 1 teaspoon butter over moderately high heat until foam subsides and sauté bacon until golden, about 1 minute on each side. Transfer bacon to a plate and add remaining 2 teaspoons butter to skillet. Heat butter until foam subsides and sauté scallions 15 seconds. Add egg mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until eggs just begin to set but are still very loose, about 30 seconds. Arrange 1 piece bacon 1/4 inch from edge of 1 empanada wrapper and spoon half of egg mixture on top of bacon. Fold empanada wrapper over filling to create a half-moon shape and seal by pressing edges together firmly with a fork. Make another empanada in same manner.

Transfer empanadas to baking pan and cut a few small slits in top of each empanada to allow the steam to vent. Bake empanadas in middle of oven until golden, about 10 minutes.

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