Wild Game Empanadas
By Lara Nations Olano
A favorite all across Latin America, empanadas are a small turnover-like hand commonly stuffed with fillings such as meat, spinach, or chicken. There are many varieties of empanadas but this recipe is most similar to the Chilean variety. Do not be thrown off by the unfamiliar combination of ingredients. Once you try them, you’ll see that the flavors meld together deliciously! They can be enjoyed with a cup of coffee for breakfast, with a side salad for lunch, or alone as a snack.
2 tbsp. lard or olive oil
1 medium white or yellow onion, finely minced
1 lb. ground game meat (goat or moose would work nicely)
1-2 tsp. cumin (or to taste, keeping in mind that you want it a bit more heavily spiced than you
would if you were going to eat the meat by itself)
1-2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 Tbsp. Valentina or other hot sauce
Coarse sea salt and ground pepper to taste
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped coarsely
Half a jar of kalamata or other brine-cured olives, sliced
1/2 cup raisins
Pie dough of your choice (if using store bought, you will need about three pie shells)
1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp. water
1. Take pie dough/shells out of the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Preheat
oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Heat oil or lard in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add minced onions and sauté until
just golden brown. Add ground meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is browned and
cooked through. Turn off heat and add cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Allow
meat to cool until nearly room temperature. Mix in chopped hard boiled eggs. (This step can be
done a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate meat until ready to assemble empanadas.)
3. Dust work surface with flour. If using store-bought pie shells, cut each pie shell into six
pieces, as though slicing a pie. If using homemade dough, take a piece of dough slightly larger
than a golf ball. Taking a single piece, roll it into a ball and work between your hands until
pliable. Set on work surface and roll flat with a rolling pin into an oval shape. Roll out as thinly
as you can without the dough falling apart (you want it to be nearly transparent, much thinner
than a pie shell). The dough oval should be about the size of your hand.
4. Take the dough oval in one hand and cup your hand to form a taco shape. Put a large spoonful
of the meat and onions in the center. Sprinkle 4-5 olives and 4-5 raisins over the meat mixture.
Using your free hand, press the edges of the dough together until sealed. Place the empanada on
baking sheet on its side.
5. Repeat until all dough and meat is used up. Brush each empanada with the egg wash on the
side facing up before putting in the oven. Bake for ten minutes, then flip each empanada over,
brush the other side with egg wash, and bake for another ten minutes or until golden brown.
Enjoy fresh out of the oven or let cool and then refrigerate.