Brazilian Beef Empanadas (Pastel de Carne)

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Appetizer: Brazilian Beef Empanadas (Pastel de Carne)
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Olive oil or vegetable oil
2-3 tbsp
Yellow onion
¼ bulb, medium-sized, minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Ground beef
454g (1 pound), lean, thawed
to taste
Black pepper
1/8 tsp, ground
Tomato paste
½ tbsp
Red wine vinegar
1 tbsp (can be replaced by the fresh juice of ½ lime)
Green olives
2 tbsp, chopped (optional)
2 tbsp (can be replaced by parseley)
Wonton wrappers
1 pack (340g or 12 oz)
1 large egg white
Oil for frying
  • Take a medium-sized saucepan, add the oil and the onion, and heat it over medium heat for around 2 mins stirring.
  • Add the garlic and keep cooking for 1 more minute stirring occasionally (don’t let the vegetables become golden; we need to cook them, not to brown).
  • Increase the heat, and cook the ground beef until it’s brown, stirring from time to time. Add salt, pepper, and the tomato paste, and stir them in. Then pour in the vinegar or lime juice.
  • Cook the beef uncovered for around 6-7 mins, stirring every now and then. Add the olives (optional), and the cilantro or parsley. Leave the mixture to cool down a little.
  • Put the wonton wrappers on a flat surface, and fill each of them with ½ – 1 tbsp of the ground beef mixture. Grease the edges of the wrappers with the egg white.
  • Put another wrapper on the top of the mixture, and seal the edges with the help of your fingers. Make a pattern over the edges of the turnovers with a fork.
  • Preheat a deep fryer (or replace it with a heavy-bottom frying pan) to 180°C (350°F).  Place several filled empanadas in the deep fryer or on the frying pan, and fry them for 3-4 mins or until they’re evenly golden on both sides.
  • Place the turnovers to a baking dish covered with paper towels so that all the excess oil is absorbed. Serve them hot with ketchup and together with beer, cane juice, or guarana soda.
  • Note that the first empanadas will fry for 3-4 minutes, while the next batches will need only 1-2 minutes to be prepared because the oil will be hot enough. Golden on the frying pan, the empanadas will become darker when placed on paper towels.
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