Beef and Olive Empanadas with Smoky Roast Pepper Aioli


This is another recipe I made when we had people around for drinks and dinner the other night - and mighty fine they were too! A lovely rich meaty filling in crispy pastry, dipped in smoky spicy sauce...perfect with a cold beer or glass of wine. Don't be put off by the pastry, it is really easy, rolls out well, and although the 'encapsulating' part is a tiny bit fiddly, it is well worth the effort. Let me know if you give them a go! If you have a recipe you'd like me to give a whirl on your behalf, or just want to say 'hi', come on over to my Facebook page...see you there!

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 green pepper, diced
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp dried oregano
1.2 kilos stewing steak such as blade or chuck, cut into 2cm dice
140g chorizo, diced
2 x 400g tins passata (pureed, seedless tomatoes)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped green olives
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh coriander

Heat olive oil in a big heavy based pot and cook onion and garlic over a medium heat for five minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except olives, eggs and coriander, bring to a gentle boil then reduce heat to simmer, half cover (you want the sauce to reduce, but not completely evaporate) and leave to do it's thing over a gentle heat, simmering for 4 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, about every hour. You can easily make this in a slow-cooker by throwing it all in and forgetting about it for the day. At the end you should have tender, soft meat and great depth of flavour in a very thick sauce. If the sauce is too runny at the end, just whip the lid off completely and continue cooking for as long as it takes to reduce the sauce to a very thick consistency. Cool to room temperature, transfer to a container and stir through the olives, eggs and coriander.


4 cups flour
 2 teaspoons salt
160g cold butter, chopped
2 eggs
1/2 cup iced water
2 tablespoons white vinegar

4 cups flavourless oil eg Ricebran (with a high smoke point)

Put all pastry ingredients together in a food processor and pulse to combine. Tip out, form into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour before using. Roll out on a lightly floured bench. Cut circles approximately 10cm in diameter. Spoon a tablespoon onto one side of each circle of pastry then fold pastry over to form a half moon shape. Pinch the pastry edges together and crimp to form pleats, or roll over  - either way ensuring that the filling is completely sealed inside. Refrigerate for 2 hours (or up to overnight) before cooking. Heat oil in a large pot until a small piece of bread starts frying straight away when dropped in. Cook empanadas in batches until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. (Or if you prefer, preheat the oven to 180˚ (350˚F) and bake empanadas until golden brown, about 30 minutes.) Serve hot with Smoky Roast Pepper Sauce. Makes a lot - I have to confess I forgot to count, but I think it was about 60!

Smoky Red Pepper Aioli

4 roasted red peppers
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chipotle chillies in adobe sauce, mashed (or to taste)
1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Whizz all ingredients together then store in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to a week.


  1. Great recipe! I love cooking with pastry rolls. Last time I added some organic beef with small potatoes and carrots with some gravy and surprisingly they turned out really tasty. I even tried filling pastries with sloppy joe mix, not a favorite of mine but it was fun to try. I also used store bought pastry rolls, next time I will try to make my own, thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks Lauren - the pastry is so easy to make, I hope you do give it a go :)