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Empanadas Tucuman Style

Hand-chopped beef Empanadas

A staple of the Argentine kitchen, it's believed that empanadas are eaten at least once a week in any given Argentine household. The recipe varies according to the part of the country where it's made: in the North they will use potatoes and green peas; in Tucumán they are made with green peppers, olives and raisins and in Santiago del Estero with hard boiled eggs.
This same filling can be used to make Pastel de Papas (potato pie). And the best ones are made when the ground meat is minced manually, with an actual knife. It's a lot more work but the flavor and the texture are well worth the effort.

Today I would like to share with you the recipe my mother used which she learned from her aunt, passed on to her by her mother-in-law from Tucumán.
I like to cook them in the oven but they may very well be fried.


1 kg of either Round Stewing beef, standing rump or shoulder roast. If you're in Argentina ask for Paleta or Nalga.
1 carrot, garlic, leek, onion and celery for the broth
1kg onions
250 gr of green onions
100 gr of olives
Sweet paprika pepper, 3 teaspoons
50 gr butter
4 hard boiled eggs

Put vegetables into water in a pot to make broth, add a pinch of salt. When the water starts to boil put the meat in the pot and lower heat to minimum. Cook for 30-35 minutes. Turn off heat and let the meat cool off in the broth. You can do this the day before.

Chop the onions as small as you can.
Chop the green onions and separate the green parts from the purple ones. Mix the latter with the regular onions.

Sauteé regular onions with the white part of the green onions in a frying pan or pot with a bit of oil until the onions are transparent, after chopping the meat a la brunoise and without fat add it to the onions, 1 1/4 cup of broth and salt. Add the paprika, de green onion leaves, add ground pepper, Cayenne pepper or any spicy condiment as you like.
Let it cool.

Boil the eggs in water with salt or white vinegar for 12 minutes over low heat after boiling starts. Then add cold water and peel eggs under running tap water. Cut them into slices or chop.
Chop olives in tiny squares and add to the chopped eggs.

To assemble the empanadas add a spoonful of filling to the dough. Carefully wet the fringes of the dough so when you close its sides they will adhere when you start sealing or braiding the edge of the empanada ("repulgue") with your fingers. At this point, any technique will do! When the empanadas are ready, cook them in a hot oven until they are golden brown.

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