Lee McClain

posted May 7, 2011, 7:32 PM by Natalie Duvall   [ updated May 7, 2011, 7:51 PM ]
Lee McClain's Empanadas

The following recipe is featured in


Full Recipe for Aunt Elba’s Empanadas


Empanada Dough

3 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ sticks butter, chopped into pieces
1 egg
1 tablespoon vinegar
a few tablespoons water

Combine four and salt.  Cut in butter using two knives (look for a YouTube video to see how this is done, if you don’t have an Aunt Elba in your life!).  Then knead in egg, vinegar, and a couple of tablespoons water, more if needed, to make a dough. As soon as it’s a lump, a little drier than store-bought cookie dough, stop!

If you’re not rushing to get these ready for a school dance, let the dough chill in the fridge for half an hour.  Then roll out the dough to be about ¼ inch thick (Aunt Elba can get it as thin as 1/8 inch, but she’s a genius).

Use a coffee can to cut the dough into circles.  You’re ready for the next step!

Empanada Filling
1 onion, chopped small
olive oil
fresh garlic (don’t you dare use powder)
chile powder
1 sweet pepper, red or green, chopped small
1 pound ground beef
3 tablespoons raisins, soaked in warm water, then drained
3 tablespoons olives
3 chopped tomatoes, fresh, of course!

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil.  Add pepper.  When tender, set aside.

In the same pan, fry ground beef until it’s no longer pink, and drain if it’s fatty.  Then add raisins, olives, tomatoes, and the pepper and onions, and let it cook ten minutes or so.  

Make the Empanadas
Put a spoonful of filling onto half of each dough circle.  Moisten the edges, then fold the circles over so that they’re like little half-moon pillows, and press the edges closed with a fork.  Brush with egg white if you want them shiny, or with melted butter if you want them extra tasty!  

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.  Delicioso!




Dr. Lee Tobin McClain happily divides her time between teaching and writing and finds that the two pursuits enrich each other. She writes romantic suspense, fiction for children and teens, and nonfiction essays and magazine articles. Among her novels are
My Loco Life, My Alternate Life, and Sizzle. Her teaching interests include children's and YA literature, magazine writing, composition, and creative writing. The former Director of the Writing Popular Fiction Graduate Program at Seton Hill University, Dr. McClain now mentors graduate students.
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