Wine and Walnuts

A blog about eating, drinking, cooking and reading in the not so Deep South

Food and Wine Pairing: Beef Empanadas with 2008 Oveja Negra Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah, Maule Valley, Chile

[picappgallerysingle id="10064722"]
iViva Chile!

What a great week for Chile a few weeks ago, huh?!  I don’t know about you all, but I was riveted by the rescue of the Chilean miners, and couldn’t get enough of their stories.

Coincidentally, I received a couple of red blends from Chile as samples that same week, and included in the package were a couple of recipes, along with a spice mixture called merquén.  When I spied the recipe for beef empanadas, I knew immediately I wanted to make them.

Now here’s the thing – I don’t make recipes that require that I make dough – from scratch – first.  (Even if my friends who are skilled cooks say, “Oh, it’s soooo easy!” Which they do say, blast ‘em.) But I wanted to make the empanadas anyway, and lo and behold, you can buy empanada shells!  How great is that?!

So I made beef empanadas (recipe below) and paired them with the 2008 Oveja Negra Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah from Chile’s Maule Valley.

Oveja Negra 2008 Cab-Syrah blend, Maule Valley, Chile

Oveja Negra 2008 Cab-Syrah blend, Maule Valley, Chile


Winemaker’s Notes

“The 2008 Oveja Negra Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah is intense ruby-red in color with an interesting nose featuring aromas of black fruits such as blackberry and blueberry, with a spicy note of black pepper and a touch of leather, all enwrapped in soft notes of oak from its barrel aging. Juicy and well-balanced on the medium to high intensity palate, with plenty of fruit flavor leading to notes of spice and a soft touch of caramel. Firm, ripe tannins.”

68% Cab, 32% Syrah. 14% alcohol by volume. Screw cap closure.  About $12 retail.

The wine had some really nice smoke and spice notes, and because it’s a blend of Cabernet and Syrah, it’s a big, dense wine, so pairing it with a rich, smoky meat dish works well.  The smoke and spice notes in the wine were a perfect complement to the merquén spice mixture I used in the beef empanadas

Recipe:  Beef Empanadas


• 1 lb. ground beef
• 2 tbsp. butter
• 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
• 2 large tomatoes (chopped)
• 3 oz. green chili peppers
• 1 bay leaf
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. merquén
• 2 tbsp. black olives (chopped)
• 1 package empanada shells (or other pastry dough, like phyllo dough)
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 tbsp. water


• Sauté onion in butter; add beef and brown lightly.
• Add tomatoes, green chilies and bay leaf, merquén, and salt; simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates.
• Remove from heat, discard bay leaf. Stir in olives.
• Place about 3 tablespoons of filling in one half of each round; fold over other half. Press edges together with fingers to seal, and use a fork to flute edges.
• Cut slits on top of each empanada. Brush with egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water. Bake at 400º for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Crispy, crunchy delicious meat pie!

Crispy, crunchy delicious meat pie!


• I used Goya empanada shells (it will say “Discos Grandes” on the package)
• Rather than add the tomatoes at the beginning, as the recipe calls for, you could add them at the end, since tomatoes are a fruit and they break down while cooking. I didn’t mind this, though.

 Note:  The wine was received as a sample.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Propeller
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Twitthis

About The Author

Kimberly Houston


5 Responses to “Food and Wine Pairing: Beef Empanadas with 2008 Oveja Negra Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah, Maule Valley, Chile”

  1. Michael says:

    What a coincidence! I made Saltanas tonight which are basically an empanada. Since my partner is a vegetarian I subbed out the meat for red wine braised lentils & I also added sliced egg. I found a great pastry recipe on It’s a pretty easy recipe.

  2. I’ve never even heard of Saltanas, but now I’m gonna Google ‘em! : )

    So you made your own pastry then? I want to do that next time. Thanks for the tip on I feel like if I can make my own dough, I will have really accomplished something!

  3. Eliana says:

    Chilean reds are so incredibly tasty. And I was right there with you glued to the TV watching the rescue mission. So amazing!

  4. Michael says:

    If I can make this dough then you can. My tip is to put the flour, salt & shortening in the Kitchenaid mixer or food processer. Then slowly add the combined egg, egg white, water & vinegar until it pulls together as a a dough ball. Turn it out onto some plastic wrap & refrigerate for an hour before rolling out.

  5. Eliana: I know, it was riveting to watch! And so emotional at the end. So a great, happy ending.

    Michael: Now see, you say it’s easy, but I’m intimidated by anything having to do with dough! Which is why I don’t bake, & why when I’ve tried to in the past, it’s usually been disastrous. ; )

Leave a Reply