Traditional Uruguayan Empanadas

Traditionelle uruguayische Empanadas

You asked for it, so finally you get traditional Uruguayan empanadas! Yay! Empanadas are flaky pasties in the shape of a half-moon filled with juicy and seasoned beef and boiled eggs. Usually they are served with the herb dip called chimichurri. Just thinking about these delicious treats make me want to grab one. When I made a story on Instagram about empanadas, I was surprised how many of you asked for the recipe and how many were excited about them. You guys encourage me to continue posting Uruguayan recipes, even if they may not be as popular as others. So here goes.

Traditionelle uruguayische EmpanadasSince empanada recipes vary and every country in Latin America claims to have the best recipe, I will try to describe what an empanada from Uruguay looks like. Feel free to comment and add to my list. Let’s see:

Traditionelle uruguayische EmpanadasWhat is an empanada from Uruguay:

  • The main ingredient for the dough is wheat flour. I know, many Latin American countries (such as Mexico or Colombia) prefer corn, but for a true Uruguayan empanada we need good old all-purpose flour. Usually only water and salt is added. You may also add beef tallow. Beef tallow makes the dough flakier. Beef tallow, compared to butter, melts at higher temperature and thus makes the dough easier to work with as the dough is more elastic. You may wonder why beef tallow. Well, this has to do with the fact that Uruguay has four times more cattle per capita living in the country. Four cows per each inhabitant, do I need to explain more? However, since beef tallow is very hard to come by in Germany, I decided to use lard. If you can get beef tallow, by all means use it.
  • Traditionally Uruguayan empanadas are filled with seasoned beef meat. I mean, four cows per capita, makes sense to use beef, right? And please be sure to use really good meat. I decided for minced meat, but feel free to cube sirloin steak or something similar.
  • This meat is then mixed with hard boiled eggs. I read contradicting statements that a true Uruguayan empanada also needs olives. However, as stated, some said this was something very Argentinian, others believed it to be truly Uruguayan. I decided to leave out the olives, but it’s up to you what you decide to fill them with.
  • Uruguayan empanadas seem to be on the larger end. Usually the circles are between 12-15cm. I mean, who wants something tiny, if it is so delicious, right?
  • Uruguayan empanadas are usually baked. It only dawned on me that there may be other ways of preparing empanadas when I was in Colombia and was served a fried one. I cannot recall a single time I ate a Uruguayan empanada that was not baked.Traditional Uruguayan empanadas are served with the famous herb sauce chimichurri. Whereas some people can’t do with ketchup on anything, Uruguayans usually like everything with chimichurri. I already posted two recipes on the blog, check them out here and here.

Traditionelle uruguayische EmpanadasDid I forget anything important? Feel free to comment. Other than that I hope you have a good time preparing empanadas. I know, they are quite a bit of work, first preparing the dough, the filling and then making the pastried. But maybe this little story encourages you. The first time I made 20 empanadas for my husband and me, they were gone in such small amount of time, I don’t even dare to write the timeframe here. My husband is Colombian and thus has some very strong opinions of how empanadas are supposed to taste, look, and smell. Once he tasted the first traditional Uruguayan empanada, he stated that he was fine only eating Uruguayan empanadas for the rest of his life. I literally had to sit down after that statement. Wow, that’s praise I had never received before. So, vamos, let’s make empanadas!

Traditional Uruguayan Empanadas

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Serves: 20-24, depending on size
Prep Time: 1 hr 30min Cooking Time: 25min Total Time: 2 hrs

Traditional Uruguayan empanadas are flaky pasties in the shape of a half-moon filled with juicy and seasoned beef and boiled eggs.

Ingredients

  • Dough
  • 60 grams of lard or if you find beef tallow
  • 330 grams of warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 600 grams of bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano

  • Filling
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 bunch of spring onions
  • 750 grams of good beef minced meat or sirloin steak
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dried parsley
  • Optional: dried chili
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • Egg wash
  • Chimichurri sauce, see here how to easily make it at home

Instructions

1

For the dough place lard, warm water and salt in a large kneading bowl and stir. Add flour and oregano and either knead five miutes by hand or with the kneading function of your machine. Let rest covered for at least half an hour or overnight in the fridge.

2

For the filling place tomatoes for about 30 seconds in boiling water, then cool with cold water and peel of skin and cut into cubes. Pree garlic through garlic press, cut onions into cubes. Simmer garlic and onions in some olive oil until translucent. Take out onions and garlic and brown the meat at high heat from all sides. Season with all herbs and add the onions, garlic and tomatoes. Let simmer for a few minutes, add salt, pepper and additional spices to taste. You can prepare the meat the night before, chill in fridge if doing so. Boil eggs and also cut into cubes and mix with prepared meat.

3

Cut dough into half and roll out one half thinnly on floured surface. Cut out circles about 12-15cm in diameter. Mine have a diameter of 12.5 cm. Place the filling on one half, put a bit of water all around the edges and fold over the other half. Be sure to seal the edges with a fork. Repeat until you have no dough and filling left.

4

Meanwhile preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Brush empanadas with egg wash and bake about 8 empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for about 25min or until golden. Serve warm with chimichurri sauce.

Notes

Empanadas freeze beautifully fully prepared. Place frozen on baking sheet, brush with egg wash and bake for a few minutes longer.

Traditionelle uruguayische Empanadas

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Anna
    Tuesday October 29th, 2019 at 06:46 PM

    Wow! Delicious!
    I have to do them. Thank you for the recipe.

    • Reply
      Jenny
      Tuesday October 29th, 2019 at 08:13 PM

      Please tell me how you like them!

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