When I first mentioned to 3 friends that I was going to make beef and potato empanadas, only 1 of them heard me right. Whereas Sophie heard ‘beef potato and empanadas’, Andrew and David heard ‘beef, potato and bananas’. They thought I was going to make some sort of exotic pie. Although it is an entertaining idea that I might try out one day, I stuck with beef and potato empanadas in the end.
A main incentive for me to try making these was because I had two sheets of puff pastry left over from a previous kitchen adventure that I had to use, as well as chicken stock which was just sitting there in the pantry. …Now that I think about it, I didn’t really make empanadas like I said I was going to; I made beef and potato puffs.
Nevertheless I would definitely make these again! My family really liked these puffs! The only thing I miscalculated was the ratio of pastry sheet to beef & potato filling I had. It was like 1 : 5 (more on that below)
As an amateur cook who is still very much learning, I think these puffs are relatively simple to make but they taste really, really good.
So…these are a few of the ingredients that I used!
Obviously because I used puff pastry sheets, I didn’t make empanada dough, but there’s a very detailed and illustrated break down on how to make the dough on Jonathan’s site.
Just a heads up (so then you don’t freak out) before you see the picture of the meat I used, one practice that I usually do whenever I work with meat is that I marinate the meat the night before, so then all the spices and sauces I add in have plenty of time to ‘soak’ into the meat. Allowing the meat to marinate over night might see your meat changing colour, depending on what you’re marinating your meat with. Every time I have used garlic, the meat has changed colour.
Even though I marinated my meat beforehand, I still added in another round of spices and sauces into the beef mixture and potato mixture as everything was cooking and mixing together. Altogether, I’d say the total amount of spices, herbs and sauces I used was equivalent to the measurements stated in the recipe below. One thing I very much encourage when cooking is that you add in spices and sauces according to your own tastes; if you’re not sure, then always start by putting in less spice/sauce. If you don’t think it’s enough, then you can always add in more.
This is how my mixture looked as it was cooling!
From previous experience, it’s ok to be a little lazy and not finely dice up whatever you’re going to put in as filling if you are making your own dough. The reason being, you can flatten or fatten each individual dough ball to accommodate the filling. When you’re working with thin pre-rolled sheets however, having chunky and awkward scoops of filling is going to take up room and prevent you from properly filling your dough.
This time, it turns out that I had cut up my onions fine enough, but my potatoes were still much too big. Major frowny face. So what did I do after my beef & veggie mix had cooled?
I decided to pulse my mix in my trusty blender!
This might seem like the easy way out of properly dicing, but I only used my blender to make up for not dicing my ingredients fine enough. There’s a reason why certain foods need to be finely diced – to allow for it to be properly cooked in the most efficient amount of time! Being able to dice well is also a valuable cooking skill!
Do you see the difference? It would most definitely be easier to fill with the mix on the right as opposed to the left because there’s not so many chunky awkward bits. Please note that although I used a blender, I used the ‘pulse’ setting. I didn’t want my mixture looking completely indiscernible.
Now. Remember how I mentioned above that I fluffed up the ratio of pastry to mixture? Haha, I really did -_- Jonathan had indicated that his recipe would be able to make about 20 empanadas, depending on size. So I took a look at my pastry sheets (two at 167 grams each) before I started chopping up my vegetables, and I figured that I’d be able to make 18 puffs. So then I thought, ‘Right then, I’ll just take out one potato, leave out a bit of capsicum. That should do it!’ How big was each puff of mine, you ask? The size of a square Post-it note. That’s not even a guess; that’s the accurate size.
By hovering the Post-It note over my pastry, I managed to cut 3×3 squares out of my pastry. Tada! Do you see the strange metal thingy next to the knife? That’s what I usually use to scoop up measured amounts of filling to put into wantons or dumplings I make. I don’t know what it’s called. I just call it ‘my scoop scoop thingy’ but it’s great. My auntie bought it for me when she taught me how to make wontons.
The pastry sheets I used hadn’t been in the freezer for too long a time since I opened the packet but still, the edges of the pastry were beginning to dry by the time I used the final two sheets. As this was the case, I trimmed off the bits of the pastry that were beginning to dry. These dried parts make sealing the pastry very difficult.
I honestly could have made about a ‘undred of these puff babies with the amount of beef and potato mixture I had left over. But no fear! While I worked, I was scooping spoonfuls of mixture into my mouth. The rest of my family did too, as they passed through the kitchen to see what I was up to. The rest I had left over I put into a tupperware container and put into the fridge. The next few days we used up the rest of the mixture to make patties for our bread buns, by tossing it through spaghetti… The next time I make these, (because there will definitely be a next time) I will probably halve all ingredients down if I were just making these for my family again, as well as make my own dough just so then we don’t have overwhelming amounts left over (no matter how tasty).
Just like I do when sealing wontons/dumplings, I crimped the edges of the pastry just to make sure the openings wouldn’t pop open in the oven. Each individual pastry was filled to bursting but the dough was wonderful in that it stretched slightly and accommodated for all the filling! I was so proud of each puff! : )
I went positively crazy with the amount of egg wash I brushed on each pastry.
But look how the puffs turned out! : )
Mum and dad grabbed one almost straight away and tried to gobble them down…as fast as one can eat something steaming hot.
I just opted to eat these as they were without any extra sauce but there are a whole variety of dips you can use, including making your own lime dipping sauce!
Now, after all that talk, I supposed you’d like the recipe.
I changed very little from Jonathan’s recipe, so I’m going to link you to his >>> The Candid Appetite: Beef and Potato Empanadas <<< I can’t see these snack sized yummies not being throughly enjoyed by those who eat it- I just can’t! They’re just so scrummy!!