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Portuguese | Portuguese Beef Turnovers

Posted on January 25, 2018

I love these. Everyone did, actually. I've never brought a dough together using a handheld mixer, but it worked fine. The Amped-Up Red Pepper Paste really flavors the beef perfectly, so don't skip this. The recipe for Amped-Up Red Pepper Paste in on the Portuguese Roast Chicken & Potatoes recipe, so to get the most out of your effort, make the paste, then the chicken saving off 1 1/2 tablespoons of the paste. Then make these turnovers. You can also freeze the Amped-Up Paste. I recommend freezing in 1 tablespoon balls. Also, I made the turnovers ahead. Froze them for a few hours on a parchment lined baking sheet. Then bagged them in a freezer bag and froze. That way I could fry up what I needed on a later date. These turnovers are also called Rissóis de Carne.

One thing we discovered when frying is that canola oil smells like fish. It didn't flavor the turnovers, but we didn't like the smell in the house. The second time that we made these, we used grapeseed oil and there was no smell.

Yield: about 36 turnovers

portuguese beef turnovers



2 cups whole milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting



2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 pound ground beef

1 small yellow onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons Amped-Up Red Pepper Paste

1 tablespoon double-concentrated tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon ground all-spice

pinch of ground cloves

1/4 cup dry red wine

Piri-Piri sauce / store bought

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

vegetable oil / grapeseed oil, for deep-frying



Heat the milk, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until wisps of steam curl up. Lower the heat to medium-low, put the flour in all at once, and immediately beat the mixture with a handheld mixed set to low, stopping occasionally to scrape the beaters clean, or with a wooden spoon, until the dough is cooked through and pulls away from the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. I did it first with the mixer, then with a wooden spoon. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and flatten it into a large disk about an inch thick. Cover tightly with a clean tea towel and let cool completely.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Crumble in the beef and cook, breaking up the chunks with a wooden spoon, until it's no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to paper towels to drain.

Lower the heat to medium, add the onion to the skillet, and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Scrape in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the red pepper paste, tomato paste, allspice, and cloves. Add the beef and mix well. Add the wine and cook until it evaporates almost completely. Season with piri-piri sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the parsley. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

To assemble and fry the turnovers, set a small glass of water nearby. Lightly dust a work surface and a rolling pin with flour. Divide the dough in half, keeping the rest covered. Roll out the one half until 1/16 inch thick. Cut out 3 1/2-inch circles using a biscuit cutter or drinking glass. Dollop 2 level teaspoons of filling on each disk. Wet half the edge of each circle with your finger, fold the turnover in half, and crimp the edges closed with a fork. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Gather the scraps, reroll, and cut out more circles, if you have extra filling. The turnovers can be refrigerated for several hours or frozen up to 2 months.

Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan, until it reaches 350°F on a deep-fat or candy thermometer. Using a slotted spoon, lower one turnover at a time into the oil. Fry, turning a few times, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and sprinkle with salt while still hot. Repeat with remaining turnovers. Serve warm or a room temperature.

portuguese beef turnovers

(Ref. "Beef Turnovers" recipe, The New Portuguese Table, page 54.)