Christmas at our house is a multi-cultural celebration of Polish and Argentinean traditions, just as our wedding was more than 10 years ago. (Polish wedding tradition: Shaking a tree branch and catching apples for the number of children we’d have. Argentinean wedding tradition: LOTS of dancing in masks to carnival music with partying going on late into the night… I mean..morning.)
The good news is that, in both cultures, the big, festive Christmas dinner actually takes place on Christmas Eve. Beyond that, the cultural traditions clash like polka dots and plaid (well unless you’re uniting them with an ADA belt). The traditional Polish “Wigilia” (Christmas Eve dinner) starts after the first star comes out (around 5pm). The Polish dinner consists of more than a dozen traditional dishes–all meatless. The Argentinean tradition? A dinner served right before midnight (way after the first star comes out) consisting of all-meat dishes!
On our first Christmas Eve together, my parents dug in their heels; they were adamant about not breaking our family tradition. Shortly afterward, when Gaston pulled empanadas out of the oven, and the delicious aromas started wafting through the house, my folks suddenly became more open-minded about blending the cultures. “Tis the season,” they said. “We should be open to all traditions.” They said this, of course, between bites of an empanada.
We’ve now been celebrating Holidays together for more than a decade…embracing both traditions and we continue to make delicious Argentinean meat empanadas every year.
I hope you enjoy the recipe below. Leave a comment and let me know if you’ve ever tried Argentinean empanadas and your favorite filling! 🙂
Classic Argentinean Meat Empanadas
Ingredients (makes 20 empanadas):
I buy the empanada dough pre-made from an international food market but they’re not difficult to make. Here is the recipe for the dough:
325g (11 ½ oz) of unsalted butter
1kg (2 lb 4 oz/ 6 2/3 cups) of plain (all-purpose) flour
25g (1 oz) of salt
350ml (12 fl oz) of water
2 onions, minced
1 red bell pepper, minced
avocado oil (or whatever oil you prefer is fine)
salt, black pepper
500g(1 lb 2 oz) minced (ground) beef
1 tablespoon aji molido or 2 teaspoons of chilli flakes
1 ½ tablespoon ground cumin
3 teaspoons paprika
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
6 spring onions (scallions), green part only, chopped