Malbec and Making Empanadas

Spring into Malbec! World Malbec Day was celebrated this past Sunday, and to assist in my celebration of the day, and Malbec in general, the kind people at Frederick Wildman & Sons sent me a few bottles of Malbec to try. Since I was working with a wine from Argentina, I also decided to cook up a little Argentine-inspired dinner, empanadas, but with a vegetarian, Italian twist.

tomatoes and basil

Caprese empanadas! I started out by making a beautiful, summer filling of shredded mozzarella, a chiffonade of basil, and chopped tomatoes. As you see above, I bought some gorgeous tomatoes, or so I thought. On the inside, they were still wintry, pale, mealy, bleh. Luckily I had a can of chopped tomatoes that I was able to quickly drain for the filling. It helps to be prepared!

tomato, mozzarella, basil

I knew making the empanada filling would be the easy part, but the dough intimidated me a little, as dough tends to do. This dough, however, could not have been easier to work with. I followed a recipe for Chilean Empanadas for the dough, but I substituted butter for shortening. Many empanada recipes use shortening or even lard, but I really preferred to use butter. After some research, I found that it is a 1:1 ratio for butter to shortening, and I got to chopping my Kerrygold into little cubes.

Kerrygold butter

For whatever reason, blending the butter into the dry ingredients this time was a cinch! Perhaps practice makes perfect? Smile Once I added the milk and let the dough rest for 20 minutes, it was time to roll it out.

empanada dough

I usually have a sticky mess of dough or something so dry and cracking that I can not roll it out. This dough was so fun to work with!

empanada dough

I rolled it out on our kitchen table and started cutting circles with a large tupperware container to make the empanadas.


Once the dough circles were cut, I added a scoop of the empanada filling, then sealed each empanada with a fork and brushed with egg. My empanadas cooked at 375 for 35 minutes.


Sadly, I overstuffed and undersealed the empanadas, so they all exploded a little in the oven. But they dough became light, flaky, fluffy, and golden brown, just as I had hoped. Though not much to look at, the empanadas were quite delicious with a cheesy, garlicky center, dotted with fragrant bits of basil


I served the empanadas with a side of orange-infused plantains, and there was, of course Malbec. We didn’t drink all of these bottles in one night; as you can see from the photos, they are all at different times. I received the Malbec about a month ago, and we have been sampling ever since.

Trapiche Malbec Don David Malbec Cuma Organic Malbec


Here we have a 2008 Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec, a Michael Torino Estate Don David Reserve Malbec, and a 2009 Michael Torino Estate Cuma Malbec, made with organic grapes. Each of these Malbecs exhibited that gorgeous, dark red-purple color that Malbec is known for, but I loved how different each of these wines were.

The Trapiche offered aromas and flavors of cherry vanilla and a little bit of oak and cedar. The Don David, which we sipped with the empanadas, was smokier and spicier, still with nice fruit flavors, but with a long, lingering finish.

The Cuma was, to me, the fruitiest, with flavors of baked fruit, like dark cherry pie. I really enjoyed all of the Malbecs we tasted (and there are more!), and it was interesting to learn a little more about Malbec, especially how it goes well with Easter and spring dishes such as lamb.

Up next will be some Chilean wine and hopefully a Chilean recipe or two. I love how receiving wine samples encourages me to try new things and to look up new recipes.

Have you tried a new-to-you food, wine, or other item lately?

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Tags: Food, Malbec, recipes, wine

  1. brandi’s avatar

    what a fun idea for empanadas! I’ve never tried Malbec, but I have one in our wine rack for a special occasion – what do you suggest we try it with first?


  2. Daisy’s avatar

    The empanadas look great, nice job with the dough. I almost bought the last bottle on the right last night! but got a different red instead. I will totally buy that one next time.


  3. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

    They came out wonderful. I haven’t tried anything new lately.


  4. Megan’s avatar

    Malbec is one of my favorites! I’m jealous of your dinner and your wine!


  5. Simply Life’s avatar

    oh those look GREAT!


  6. Michelle’s avatar

    I think your empanadas look beautiful! I’ve fallen in love with a dessert strawberry wine that my boss gave me…and I made a drunken pound cake with it!


  7. Tiffany’s avatar

    I’ve always wanted to make empanadas but like you, it’s the dough that intimidates me, seeing how yours turned out great, I want to try again! We got our tomatoes planted a couple weeks ago, can’t wait till they are ready, hate not knowing where they came from or what will be inside!


  8. Enrico’s avatar

    wow those empenadas look amazing and such a great pairing with 3 bottles of wine – it must be fun dining at your house.


  9. Jolene (’s avatar

    Orange infused plantains!!!!???? You are a gourmet chef!!


  10. Emily @ A Cambridge Story’s avatar

    Impressive!! Your enchiladas look great – and I love myself a glass of Malbec. I’ll celebrate World Malbec Day late tonight :)


  11. RavieNomNoms’s avatar

    Oh I am so excited about this post!! I am in love with Malbec…my boyfriends brother got a bottle of Malbec for me for Christmas a few years back and I have been HOOKED ever since. I just love the flavors!

    Your empanadas, just WOW….I have never even thought to make an empanada with that kind of a filling but what a GREAT idea!!


  12. Colleen’s avatar

    Those empanadas look delicious!!!


  13. Jason Phelps’s avatar

    We celebrated Malbec World Day with an insane number of different selections and a table full of food! One person did bring curried lamb emanadas which were quite good with the wine. My favorite pairing was delit cut Londond broil with the Ruta 22. Celebrating just one wine was a very interesting way to party!



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