As many restaurants come up with new ways to reach customers, many of them are reaching out to the home cooks who want to try their hand at making restaurant specialties at home.
At Buenos Aires Cafe, that specialty is empanadas, the Argentinian hand pie that the restaurant sells in half a dozen varieties at two Austin locations on East Sixth Street and the Hill Country Galleria.
When the pandemic hit, co-owner Paola Guerrero-Smith added groceries, including some staples like chimichurri, to the restaurant’s online menu. Within a few weeks, she started selling kits that included everything you’d need to make empanadas at home.
Each kit comes with a dozen pre-cut circles of empanada dough that are separated by a little sheet of plastic and Buenos Aires Cafe’s classic beef filling with raisins, olives, onions peppers and spiced with paprika, but not spicy. The kit also comes with an egg to brush on the top of the empanadas before baking. Guerrero-Smith recommends baking at 350 degrees for 20 minutes in a convection oven or 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. (I also have finished them in an air fryer.)
Guerrero-Smith joined me on my Austin360 Facebook livestream this week to walk me through making the empanadas. She’s also been hosting classes on Instagram.
Buenos Aires Cafe still has vegetables, meat, dairy, grains and pantry staples for sale through its website, as well as wine. That’s where you’ll find the empanada kits ($30), which makes a dozen with some filling leftover.
I served the empanadas from this kit with a green salsa, but chimichurri or another salsa would be delicious. Five years ago, for the restaurant’s 10th birthday, Guerrero-Smith shared the recipe for the restaurant’s chimichurri.