Makes 24 Empanadas
3 boxes (17.3 oz. each) frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed in the refrigerator
1 egg, lightly beaten (for egg wash)
2 onions, chopped
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
1 tbsp. sweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup sliced green olives (about 20), I like to use Manzanillos
3 scallions, finely chopped
2 tbsp. tomato paste
Salt & pepper
1. Heat 2-3 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chopped onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until softened. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add the ground beef, minced garlic, and chopped green bell pepper; saute until the beef is mostly cooked through.
3. Add the paprika, cumin, cayenne, sugar, oregano, vinegar, raisins, sliced green olives, scallions, and tomato paste. Saute for 10-15 minutes until the beef is cooked through and the flavors have melded. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as needed. Turn off heat and set aside to cool. The mixture can be refrigerated for 3-4 days before using even frozen for later use.
4. Remove the puff pastry sheets from the refrigerator. Place one pastry sheet (there should be 2 in each box) on a piece of lightly floured waxed paper. Cut four 5" circles out of the puff pastry sheet (I use a small glass bowl with a 5" diameter to cut out the pastry rounds). Repeat with the remaining puff pastry sheets until you have 24 rounds.
5. Place one heaping tablespoon of the meat filling onto each pastry round. Crimp the edges to seal. Place the empanadas on a sheet tray lined with non-stick aluminum foil.
*You can also freeze the empanadas for later (place them in a single layer on a sheet pan and freeze for 20-30 minutes until cold; place the empanadas into Ziploc bags, seal and freeze - to reheat, place the frozen empanadas on a baking sheet and bake at 400F until golden brown).
6. Preheat the oven to 400F.
7. Brush the top of each empanada with egg wash. Bake 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown. Best served hot. Although some recipes call for a dipping sauce such as chimichurri, I think these pastries are savory enough as is.