Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz from Sydney’s Porteño and Bodega restaurants share with us their recipe for empanadas de carne. They’ll be popping up at Gauchito Gil’s Malbec Day at Carriageworks, but if you can’t wait that long for their pastry-wrapped meat moons, give this a go.


  • 500 g plain flour
  • 100 g ghee
  • 250 ml warm water
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt


  • 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 brown onions, minced
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
  • 600 g minced chuck steak
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
  • 60 g pitted black olives, chopped

To make the filling

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over a low heat and fry the onion for 10 minutes, or until softened. Add the spices and cook, stirring, for a further five minutes, then add the meat. Cook, stirring occasionally to break up the mince, for 30 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and the meat is just starting to fry. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Fold through the eggs and olives and refrigerate to chill.

To make the dough

Melt the ghee in a small saucepan over a low heat. Put the flour and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment and mix to combine. Mix the melted ghee and water together in a jug. Leave the mixer running on a low speed, and gradually add the ghee mixture to the flour until a dough forms. Add another splash or two of water if the dough feels dry or crumbly. Set aside to rest for 1 hour.

Quarter the dough and roll out to a 2-3 mm thickness and cut rounds using a lightly floured 15 cm round cutter.

Fill and fry the empanadas

Holding a round of dough in one hand, wet the outer edge then place 2 tablespoons of the filling in the centre. Fold the dough over the filling to make a half moon, then press the edges together and fold the lip over itself, pressing and pleating as you go.

Repeat until you’ve used up all the dough and all the filling. Fill a deep heavy-based saucepan a third full (no more) with oil, and heat the oil to 170C. Deep-fry the empanadas in batches for 4-5 minutes, or until golden. Drain on paper towel and serve.

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