International Empanadas with a Cilantro Lime Chimichurri


Since I’ve become a student I eat out a lot, way more than I’m used too.  Our school is located downtown historic Missoula, Montana, a really cool place.  Eating lunch out often means that you get to know which places are good and fast.  Lucky for me, right across the street from the school is an Argentinean Empanada restaurant.

Well shiver me timbers, an empanada joint in Montana! Quelle chance! What a treat, but an expensive one, at $4 each for small ones, the bills added up fast.  It was hard to resist, they were so perfect and good and they served a variety of sauces with them.  after the initial weekly gorging, I allowed myself a once a month treat of two of them with sauce(s).

The aroma would take me away to South America, the smell of chiles and cumin wafted into my olfactory, stimulating a drool response.  The pastry is like no other, somewhere between a pie crust and a dough.  Golden brown and shiny on the outside with just the right amount of flake and chewiness once bitten into. I pictured myself sitting at a friends table, basking in the warmth and soaking up all the goodness that South America has to offer.  Of course I’ve never been to South America, but I can just imagine it.

I. Love. Empanadas. It is of no surprise to me that when I was assigned Gloria’s Blog Canela Kitchen, for my Secret Recipe Club assignment, I immediately (and without looking at anything else) went to her empanada recipes.  I hovered over the recipes like a vulture ready to partake on some glorious carnage.  After much inner dialogue, I rested on my laurels and followed my formula for choosing recipes from any assigned blogs:  1.Pick a family recipe 2. pick a cultural recipe or 3. pick their favorite.  Gloria is from Chile, so naturally I chose her traditional Chilean Empanadas.


You may be wondering how my Chilean Empanadas became international? Or maybe not, but I’m going to share anyways…cause I’m that kinda gal.

When I mentioned to some of my very dear classmates that I was going to make empanadas, their eyes lit up…maybe they even got a little misty.  I could see them drift off for a moment, too a far away place, to their homes in South America.  It just so happens that one of my classmates is from São Paulo, Brazil and another one (our gypsy) is originally from Venezuela but now resides in Texas.  They were remembering and not imagining like me.

They offered to help and make them at the international hub, (the crazy Venezuelan’s house who seems to have British, French and South American people over all the time).  Naturally if you help, you get to eat.  Although I saw through their diabolical plan, I was happy to have a little coaching since empanada making is not in my repertoire.

So the international empanada was born, Chilean recipe, Argentinean inspired sauce, American made, Venezuelan (Carolina) flare, Brazilian (Christina..whom I made the Brigadeiros for) finishing touches. Oh did I mention that our British and vegetarian friend (Tara) also came (she made a lentil and cheese one and declared it “quite good”). Then one more American joined the forces (Amahra took the empanada photo above). Can you guess who is who?

An international delight…I do believe we may have solved the world peace problems with them.

international empanadas

Notes about the recipe: I had to convert the recipe to American standard measurements, a kilo of flour is a lot so I increased the amount of ingredients used in the filling (wisely so).  We made nearly two dozen, versus the 12 that the recipe stated (yay for more empanadas).  They freeze marvelously and are worth every moment making them…especially with international friends. I made a few other minor changes, you can get the original recipe here.


International Empanadas
Yields 24
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
2 hr
  1. 10 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  3. ½ cup lard
  4. 11 tablespoons butter
  5. 1 1/2 cup milk
  6. 1 cup water
  7. 1 tablespoon salt
  8. 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 4 tablespoons butter
  3. 1 tablespoon paprika
  4. 3 small onions, diced
  5. 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  6. 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  7. 1 cup of warm water
  8. salt and pepper
  9. 2 teaspoon of cumin
  10. 12 olives, sliced
  11. 4 hardboiled eggs, peeled and sliced
  12. 2 tablespoons raisins (optional)
  13. 2 egg yolks whisked with 2 tablespoons milk for brushing onto empanadas
  1. In a medium size saucepan heat the milk, lard, butter, water and salt over medium heat until the butter and lard are completely dissolved. In a large bowl mix the flour with the baking powder. Empty the liquid over the flour with baking powder and mix by hand to make dough, make a well in the center and add the eggs, gently knead 3 to 4 minutes. Add more flour if needed, the dough should not stick to your hands
  2. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let rest for a minimum of 5 minutes. While the dough is resting prepare the meat.
  3. In a very large pan, or Dutch oven heat the oil and butter over medium high. Add the diced onions and cook with the paprika until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook until the beef is done (don’t overcook), sprinkle with flour and mix well. Slowly add the warm water, bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute stirring constantly, remove from heat stir in cumin, salt and pepper then set aside to cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  5. Divide the dough in approximately 24 portions. Roll each portion out on a lightly floured surface, use a small saucer as a guide to cut a circle out.
  6. Fill each empanada with two spoonful’s of the beef mixture, sliced olives, one slice of boiled egg and some raisins (optional).
  7. Fold over and then double the border back and pinch with fingers to seal. Brush the empanadas with a mix of yolks and milk.
  8. Bake on a sheet for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Serve with Cilantro Lime Chimichurri sauce if desired (recipe follows).
The Kitchen Witch


Cilantro Lime Chimichurri
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  1. ½ cup rough chopped cilantro (about 1 large handful)
  2. 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  3. 2 tablespoons vinegar (red wine or champagne)
  4. 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  5. ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
  6. ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  7. ¼ cup Spanish Olive Oil
  1. Place all ingredients except oil into a food processor or blender, pulse until finally chopped, about 5 to 6 times. While processor is running slowly pour oil into processor until well blended. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving but preferably longer.
  1. I like to make this a day in advance.
  2. Yields 1/2 cup
The Kitchen Witch
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28 Responses to International Empanadas with a Cilantro Lime Chimichurri

  1. SeattleDee October 22, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    Visiting from Group B, and loving your International Empanada post. Both the recipe and the party project idea are winners!

    • Giggles October 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

      Friends make food so much better!

  2. Rachel @ The Avid Appetite October 22, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    Gorgeous! I love empanadas and I really, really love chimichurri…I could eat that atop anything 🙂 Great SRC pick!

    • Giggles October 22, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

      I really love chimichurri also, I changed it up from the traditional parsley to cilantro and I think I even like it better!

  3. Debbi Does Dinner Healthy October 22, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    I love these pictures! The empanada’s look wonderful, great choice!

    • Giggles October 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

      Debbi, it was so nice to have friends making something so I could actually take some pictures of the action!

  4. Melissa October 22, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    What a fantastic idea! These sound wonderful 🙂

    • Giggles October 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

      They are wonderful, if you ever have time you should make them!

  5. Erin @ Making Memories October 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    How cool is that?!?! It sounds like it was a blast making them with all the variations. And they sound wonderful! Who knew – empanadas in Montana?

    • Giggles October 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      I know right, empanadas in Montana. It was a blast making them, friends, food and wine…a perfect Sunday!

  6. gloria October 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Thanks by made my empanadas I think yours look beautiful and Im happy you like them:)

    I think empanadas are delicious too!

    • Giggles October 22, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

      Gloria, thank you for inspiring me to make them, when I move back home I won’t be able to buy them anymore.

  7. Teri @ The Freshman Cook October 22, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Sounds like a lot of fun, and the empanadas look beautiful!

    • Giggles October 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

      I can’t even imagine how unfun it would have been doing it by myself.

  8. Karen October 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    Love these little pies. How fun that you all got together!

    • Giggles October 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

      Karen I refer to them as pies also. A classmate of mine asked me what empanadas were and I described them as hand pies. I said they were like portable pot pies.

      • gloria October 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

        Karen have reason I understand look like litle pies when we see them but in South America, specially Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Chile we call empanadas, the fun is we have of many type, fry or at oven I love with seafood too, empanadas are something typical of our countries.
        I think yours look awesome!

  9. misschelsmangia October 22, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    these look fantastic and with the chimichurri…genius!

    • Giggles October 22, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

      I actually made a convert out of my British friend. She put on crackers, cheese anything she could get her hands on.

  10. Debra October 22, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    I love your criteria for choosing a recipe. And, I love that you made this an international family affair. What a great time. You will have to post some reviews of some of the other restaurants and joints in Missoula sometimes. Can I have a bowlful of the sauce, please?

    • Giggles October 22, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

      I never thought about doing a review, what a great idea!

  11. Christine @ Christine's Kitchen Chronicles October 22, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    What an AMAZING experience you had. Thank you for sharing and I think it’s true that the world unites around food ;).

    This recipe brought back wonderful memories from earlier this year when my husband and I traveled to Antarctica via Santiago and Ushuaia had some awesome empanadas in Chile. We might have eaten some every single day that we were there! I’m also a big sucker for chimichurri. Will need to try both soon!

    • Giggles October 22, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

      Wow, talk about exotic travels! How wonderful. Glad this brought back fond memories.

  12. Veronica October 23, 2012 at 3:33 am #

    I loved the photos of your friends making the empanadas! this is just too cool! The empenadas are just gorgeous and what better way than to enjoy them with friends. I love how food can bring such diverse people together!

    • Giggles October 23, 2012 at 8:10 am #

      Veronica, you hit the nail on the head. The best part about food is how it brings people together, it’s the universal language!

  13. Janet October 23, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    Okay, this officially means that we need a visit from Grandma. I love empanadas!

    • Giggles October 23, 2012 at 8:08 am #

      I agree, like I need an excuse to come visit…but making empanadas together would be great.

  14. Lacy @ NYCityEats October 25, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    Wow these look amazing! The dough looks like it turned out really well (oddly dough is my favorite part of, well, everything. Looks like all of your friends had a blast making (and I’m sure eating) them too! 🙂