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Empanada odyssey: A journey to the heart of turnover country

A trip to Argentina brings a new appreciation for the tasty turnovers, which are all too easy to fall for in their Utah incarnations.



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That’s as good as it gets. But alas, neither woman could speak English, and my Spanish is more than a little limited. I was unable to apprehend their magic empanada recipe.

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At a glance

Argentine empanadas

Dough

4 cups flour

2 tablespoons lard, melted

1 cup water

Filling

2 tablespoons olive oil or water

3 green onions minced

1 tablespoon cumin (optional)

1 tablespoon paprika

1 pound steak cut in small dice

1 large potato, peeled and diced

1/4 cup beef stock

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon red pepper (cayenne)

12 green olives

3 hard-boiled eggs, quartered

1 whole egg beaten

­

To make the dough, combine flour, melted lard and warm water in a mixing bowl. Stir, then knead with hands until the dough is soft. To prepare the filling, heat oil in a medium-size pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until transparent. Add cumin and paprika and cook for 1 minute.

Add meat and cook for 5 minutes. Add potatoes and beef stock and cook until tender. Add salt and crushed red pepper and raisins and mix well.

Chill mixture for 30 minutes or more.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

To stuff, pull off billiard ball-sized clumps and roll out into circles. Stuff and bake the empanadas at 350 degrees for 12 minutes until golden.

Makes » About 16 empanadas

Source » wherefoodgoeswhenitdies

Empanadas in Utah

Argentina’s Best Empanadas » Owner Ana Valdemoros sells homemade empanadas, filled with beef, chicken, lamb, spinach and more, every Saturday at the Downtown Farmers Market at Pioneer Park, 300 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City. Open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October. Empanadas also can be ordered online at argentinasbestslc.com or by calling 801 815-0690.

MIA Empanadas Factory & Peruvian Restaurant » 571 W. 2600 South, Bountiful; 801-397-5222. Savory empanadas with beef, chicken or vegan stuffing are available. Or try sweet empanadas with apple or dulce de leche fillings. Open Tuesday-Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday until 6 p.m.

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Finding authentic flavor at home » Fortunately, it’s possible to taste authentic Argentine empanadas in Salt Lake City. Ana Valdemoros sells them every Saturday morning at the Downtown Farmers Market at Pioneer Park.

After coming to the United States 12 years ago, she couldn’t imagine life without empanadas, so she made them for family and friends. But about six years ago, she began selling the traditional treats under the business name Argentina’s Best Empanadas.

She makes them with eight different fillings and uses locally produced ingredients for that magic flavor. But she isn’t about to give up her recipe.

Valdemoros prepares all her delicacies on Friday nights, but doesn’t bake them until Saturday morning at Pioneer Park, so they are fresh.

"Empanadas are popular all over Argentina," Valdemoros noted. "It’s like people in this country saying: ‘I’m going to have some pizza.’"

I like pizza, too. But there’s nothing like an Argentine empanada — even if you aren’t visiting Salta or Buenos Aires.

On the other hand, maybe you should go to Argentina to see for yourself.

csmart@sltrib.com


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