Lamb Empanadas with Chimichurri Sauce

June 7, 2011

Author Notes: This recipe satisfies all of your street food cravings: savory, slightly sweet, crispy fried crust, tangy sauce. Pocket foods like this are the original street food. I have made versions of empanadas for years but I love how the strong flavors of the lamb are balanced by the tanginess of the chimichurri sauce. The base is the traditional Argentinian combo of meat, olives, onions, and tomatoes. I traded out the standard beef for more flavorful lamb and added more sweet spices and acid balance with balsamic.

This recipe makes big empanadas - a meals worth easily.

The crust - courtesy of my husband - is a really good balance between a flaky puff pastry and a calzone dough.

Serves: 10 - 12
Prep time: 50 min
Cook time: 20 min



  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/3 cup green olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, chopped, seeds and juice retained
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 hard boiled eggs - thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes, chilled
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1/3 cup ice water

Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon mexican oregano
In This Recipe



  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent - 8 minutes.
  2. Add lamb and cook through, breaking up with the back of a fork - 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. saute 1 minute.
  4. Add raisins, olives, cumin, cinnamon, and oregano. Saute 1 minute.
  5. Add tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Lower to medium low and cook for 15 - 20 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked down but there is still plenty of liquid. Season with salt and pepper. Set the filling aside to cool.
  6. For the dough - mix together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar). In a separate bowl, mix together egg, vinegar, and water.
  7. Place the butter cubes into the dry ingredients, blending in the butter with your fingers until it forms a coarse meal. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix together and add the final 2 tablespoons if the dough is still dry.
  8. On a floured surface, lightly knead the dough for 1 minute to incorporate all the ingredients. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour at least.
  9. Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll the pieces into a ball and use a rolling pin to roll the pieces out into a circle 4-5 inches wide.
  10. Place one circle of dough on a floured surface, fill with approximately 1/4 cup filling on one half of the circle, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Lay a slice of egg in the center on top of the filling. Fold over the other half of the circle and tightly crimp the edges. Repeat with the remaining circles of dough.
  11. In a skillet, heat 1/2 inch of peanut oil. Lightly fry each formed empanada - about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Serve with chimichurri sauce.

Chimichurri Sauce

  1. Blend all ingredients together in a food processor, serve.

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