Baked Meat Turnovers

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Latin American Paleo Cooking Over 80 Traditional Recipes Made Grain and Gluten FreeIf you are looking for something festive and fun but not fried, these Argentinean-style empanadas are just the thing you need! When forming the empanadas, the traditional look is a folded decorative edge called repulgo, which takes extra care to shape with this gluten free dough. The filling provided is typical for Argentina; however, you can feel free to test other filling recipes from this book.

  • Yield: 8 Empanadas


For the filling
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tsp (5 g) minced garlic (about 2 large cloves)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp (6 g) fine Himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp (2 g) freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp (3 g) ground cumin
  • 1 tsp (2 g) dried oregano
  • ½ lb (225 g) ground beef
For the dough
  • 1½ cups (180 g) sifted cassava flour
  • ¼ cup (32 g) tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp (6 g) fine Himalayan salt
  • ¼ cup (56 g) palm shortening or lard
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) canned pure pumpkin puree, or 1 large egg, beaten
  • ¾ cup (175 ml) coconut milk
To assemble the empanadas
  • 1 large egg, hard-boiled and chopped coarsely
  • 0.33 cup (34 g) chopped green Manzanilla olives
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp (15 ml) water, for the glaze (can substitute olive oil)
How to Make It
  1. First, prepare the filling. This gives it a chance to cool before you form the empanadas. Because these bake for quite a while, you do not want to overcook the beef in the skillet.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the onion and cook until it has begun to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper, salt, black pepper, paprika, red pepper or cayenne, cumin and oregano and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ground beef and stir to break it up, cooking for 5 to 7 minutes more, or until it is just cooked through. Strain the meat mixture with a slotted spoon into a bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator to chill.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  4. Next, prepare the empanada dough: In a mixing bowl, combine the cassava flour, tapioca starch and salt and use a fork to cut the shortening into the flour. If using pumpkin instead of egg, cut it into the flour with the fat. Stir in the coconut milk (and egg, if using) until a dough forms. Use your hands to work the dough into a ball, then divide it into 8 portions.
  5. To assemble the empanadas, take each portion and roll it into a ball between your hands. Place it between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Place a plate on top of the ball and use even pressure to press down to flatten the ball into a disk, then use a rolling pin to flatten it to about 5 inches (12.5 cm) across. Fill with about 1 tablespoon (15 g) of the meat mixture plus about 1 teaspoon (5 g) each of the chopped egg and olives. Use the parchment paper to assist in folding the empanada. For the traditional Argentinean look, close the empanada using the decorative repulgo folds: Make a triangular pleat at one end and continue to fold more triangular pleats all the way across the edge until it is sealed.
  6. Arrange the empanadas on a baking sheet and brush the tops with the egg wash (or olive oil). Bake them for about 35 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden and crisp. Let cool briefly before serving.

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