Lamb Patagonia style from Argentinian Street Food »

Tasty lamb and smoked chilli empanadas for winter weather

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Argentinian Street Food - by Enrique Zanoni and Gaston Stivelmaher - Lamb Patagonia style

Argentinian Street Food - by Enrique Zanoni and Gaston Stivelmaher - Lamb Patagonia style

Argentinian Street Food - by Enrique Zanoni and Gaston Stivelmaher

Argentinian Street Food
reveals the secrets of putting together an empanada (like a deep fried pastie, or large samosa), whether it be stuffed with meat, cheese, vegetables, fruit or molten chocolate.

This one is stuffed with lamb cooked with red wine and a smoked chilli powder caller merkén (see below), and makes an excellent casserole or pie filling if you don't want to fry the empanadas. 

Perfect for winter!


Preparation time: 40 minutes

Resting time: 2 hours

Cooking time: 55 minutes

Makes 20 empanadas



Dough:1 quantity of puffed dough (see page 20 of book, or use sheets of bought pastry)


  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) boned lamb leg
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 300 ml (10½ fl oz) red wine
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 red capsicum (pepper), sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 pinch of merkén (see note below) or smoked paprika
  • salt, black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons chopped rosemary
  • 3 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • 3 teaspoons chopped tarragon
  • 1 handful of mint leaves, chopped

For frying 1.5 litres (52 fl oz/6 cups) sunflower oil




  1. Cut the lamb into 1 cm (½ inch) cubes. Brown over high heat in a saucepan with a little oil for a few minutes.
  2. Add the honey and let the meat caramelise for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the red wine and bring to the boil, stirring, for 30 seconds to deglaze the pan, then lower heat and reduce the liquid for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the onion, capsicum, garlic, merkén, salt and pepper. Lower heat again and continue cooking for 20 minutes, or until the wine has evaporated.
  5. Add the rosemary, thyme, tarragon and mint. Let the mixture cool, then refrigerate for 2 hours.


  1. Sprinkle a little flour on the work surface. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 3 mm (¹/8  inch) and cut out circles with a 14 cm (5½ inch) cutter.
  2. Using a 60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) ice-cream scoop or measuring cup, form small balls of filling and place one on each round of dough.
  3. Lightly moisten the edge of the dough with a little water and fold over into a half-moon shape.
  4. Seal the edges and give them the ‘cordero’ decoration (see photo; details on page 26 of book) or an edging of your choice.
  5. Set aside in the refrigerator if not cooking immediately.


  1. In a saucepan or deep-fryer, heat the oil for frying to 180°C (350°F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden brown in 15 seconds.
  2. Add a few empanadas to the oil, and fry for 5 minutes, or until they brown.
  3. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Repeat this process with the remaining empanadas.
  4. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Note: Merkén is a spice that’s widely used in Patagonia and Chile. It’s a chilli powder with a strong, smoky flavour. It can be found in grocery stores all over the world. If you can’t find it, use smoked paprika instead.


Argentinian Street Food by Enrique Zanoni and Gaston Stivelmaher is published in Australia by Murdoch Books (Sydney, 2014; hc, 160pp) and retails for $29.99. It's a great recipe book, read our full review here »

This recipe and associated images from Argentinian Street Food is reproduced with the kind permission of the publisher, Murdoch Books. Photography by Akiko Ida.


A very appropriate starter to your Argentinian dinned could be Clerico, a white wine aperitif »

Need a delicious dessert to follow your empandas? Try this recipe for Raspberry Malbec Sorbet »

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May 21st, 2014
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