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Meat Brazilian empanadas

Meat empanadas in Brazil is called Pastel. You can find in any farmers market from north to south. Is very simple and delicious to make. I learned to make those in Florianópolis, Brazil with some friends. The recipe was brought to Brazil many years ago with Japanese immigrants, now is a popular Brazilian street food.

Pastel Dough (Massa para Pastel)

Enough for 25 pasteis

1.1 lb (1/2 kg) flour
1/2 Tbsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. lard

1 Tbsp. cachaça
1 cups warm chicken broth, approximately
Mix the flour and salt, then add lard. Add the cachaça to the warm broth, and add to the dough in 1/4 cup quantities, mixing in thoroughly and stopping just when the dough forms a ball. Do not over mix or add too much broth.

Form into a ball, then let rest for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, dough for the empanadas is ready for rolling out, filling and fried as desired.

Ground meat filling
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • ¼ medium yellow onion, small diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ( 454 g) lean ground beef, thawed
  • Salt to taste (about ¼ to ½ teaspoon)
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar or fresh juice of ½ lime
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped green olives (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoon chopped cilantro or parsley
  1. In a medium skillet, heat the oil and sweat the onion over medium heat for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and let cook for about 1 minute, stirring occasionaly (NOTE: The purpose is to cook the onion and garlic, NOT to brown them). Increase heat to medium-high and brown the ground beef, stirring every now and then. Stir in both the salt and pepper, and then the tomato paste. Stir in the vinegar or lime juice. Let ground beef cook, uncovered, for about 5-7 minutes or until cooked throughout, stirring occasionally. Stir in the olives (optional) and the chopped cilantro or parsley. Let cool a bit before filling the pasteis.
  2. Place the pastel wraps on preparation surface. Fill each with ½ to 1 Tablespoon of the cooked ground beef mixture and brush the egg white around the edges.
  3. Overlay another dough on top on the filling and seal edges well, pressing firmly with your fingers. Using a fork, make a pattern over the edges.
  4. Heat a heavy-bottom pot to 350 degrees F (about 180 degrees C). If you don't have a thermometer to measure the temperature, dip a small piece of pastel into the heated oil. If you hear a sizzling sound, the oil is ready. Fry the pastel, a few at a time, turning them while frying so that they brown evenly on both sides. The first and second batches will take about 3-4 minutes while the next batches will only take 1-1/2 to 2 minutes to fry because the oil will be hotter. They should be lightly golden and crisp. They will darken further once they are draining on paper towels.
  5. Transfer pasteis to baking sheet lined with a double layer of paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Serve hot by themselves, with ketchup or rosé sauce, or accompanied by guaraná soda, cane juice, or beer.