Eric Kim’s “Judy’s Empanadas”
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
10 store-bought empanada wrappers
2 large, hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped
10 pimiento-stuffed green olives
16 oz. shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
Vegetable oil, for frying
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring often, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the tomato sauce, and cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let the filling cool completely before assembling the empanadas.
- To assemble the empanadas, spoon a heaping tbsp. of filling into the center of a wrapper, making sure not to overstuff it or else the empanada will be difficult to seal. Top with some hard-boiled egg, a single olive, and a generous sprinkle of mozzarella. Using your finger, moisten the outer edge of the wrapper with water. Fold the wrapper in half so you have a half-moon shape. Pinch the edges of the wrapper together with your thumb and index finger to seal in the filling.
- To finish, crimp with a fork, or try my mother’s more elegant design: With your thumb, pinch a small section of the edge over into the dough and repeat all around so you’re left with a sequence of rounded rainbows.
- To fry the empanadas, pour about 2 inches vegetable oil into a medium pot. Heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F on an instant-read thermometer.
- Line a plate with paper towels. Working in batches of one or two, add the empanadas to the hot oil and deep-fry, turning them often with a frying spider or slotted spoon, until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to the paper towels to drain. Although the fried empanadas will last up to 2 days in the refrigerator, they’re best eaten hot and fresh.
Note: You can find empanada wrappers in the frozen section of most groceries, especially Latin supermarkets. Our favorite is the orange annatto-dyed discos (they’re chewier than their white counterparts).
Tip: For any you that don’t fry and eat right away, individually wrap them in plastic and place in the freezer; thaw in the refrigerator before frying.
Makes 10 empanadas.