This is a Bolivian meat pastry, a cousin to the empanada. This recipe is one handed down from my grandmother. It makes 16 medium-sized saltenas.

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Ingredients

16
Original recipe yields 16 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
For the Filling:
For the Dough:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/2 cup cold water in a heat-proof dish; set aside for 10 minutes. Microwave the rehydrated gelatin for 30 seconds or until melted (or melt it over a pot of simmering water). Transfer the melted gelatin to a small bowl and refrigerate until set.

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  • Place the potatoes into a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked but still firm, about 10 minutes. Remove from water, allow to cool, and shred into a bowl; set aside.

  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef, and cook until the meat is no longer pink, breaking it up into crumbles as it cooks, about 10 minutes. Drain excess grease. Stir in the shredded potatoes, peas, spring onion, parsley, 4 teaspoons sugar, 2 teaspoons paprika, cumin, salt and black pepper, and 3 tablespoons jalapeno sauce (optional). Simmer filling until hot, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

  • Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment paper.

  • Combine the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cut in the butter with a knife or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (This can also be done in a food processor: pulse the butter and flour mixture until it looks like cornmeal. Turn mixture into a bowl and proceed.) Slowly add the hot water and knead until smooth, about 3 minutes. Keep the dough covered with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel to keep it warm. Divide the dough into 16 pieces and roll them into balls. Keep the other balls of dough covered with a towel while you roll out each round.

  • On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball of dough into a 1/8-inch-thick circle. Whisk the beaten eggs and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl. Lightly brush egg wash on the edges of the dough circle. Place about 2 tablespoons of the meat filling on one half of the dough round; top it with about a 1/2 teaspoon of hard-boiled egg, 1/4 teaspoon of gelatin, a few sliced black olives, and some raisins.

  • Fold the dough over the filling. Seal and scallop the edges of the dough together. To scallop, start at one edge of the half circle: fold a small piece of dough (the size of your fingernail) over the seam and press gently. Fold another small piece of dough over the seam so that it overlaps the first piece; repeat until you have sealed the half circle. (You may also seal the saltenas by pressing a fork around edges.)

  • Place the saltena on the prepared baking sheet and continue with the remaining dough and filling. Whisk the paprika into the remaining egg wash and brush the saltenas with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Cook's Note:

You may substitute shredded chicken for the ground beef, if you prefer.

Nutrition Facts

481.9 calories; protein 16.6g 33% DV; carbohydrates 59g 19% DV; fat 20.3g 31% DV; cholesterol 107.5mg 36% DV; sodium 551.3mg 22% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (30)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
07/05/2011
Yes they are a lot of work but they are SO worth it. The only change I made was I used beef tips cut up into very small cubes instead of ground beef. My husband's family is from Bolivia and they love these. Thank you. Read More
(36)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
04/11/2013
My father was born in Bolivia and his family ran a salteneria in La Paz when he was a teenager. I wanted to make my own saltenas so I was happy to find this recipe. I was disapointed about how dry they came out even following the directions to the letter. I'm wondering if I should not have drained the "excess grease" as the recipe calls for and maybe left it in so it would make a sauce of some kind. Read More
(11)
37 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 17
  • 4 star values: 11
  • 3 star values: 6
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 5 stars
07/05/2011
Yes they are a lot of work but they are SO worth it. The only change I made was I used beef tips cut up into very small cubes instead of ground beef. My husband's family is from Bolivia and they love these. Thank you. Read More
(36)
Rating: 5 stars
07/03/2011
I submitted this recipe so long ago I forgot a few things....I usually use chicken sometimes I use shredded beef. The original recipe called for head cheese.For those of you who know what head cheese is you know it is not a cheese at all. Not a fan of head cheese (1/2 cup; chopped) so I am meerly mentioning it for those that are interested. To be honest I am not even sure where one would get head cheese. Don't skip the gelatin it isn't the same without it. Read More
(26)
Rating: 5 stars
08/13/2011
This is a good saltena recipe. I live in Bolivia and can't imagine what it will be like NOT having these when I move back to the states. Also there are so many variations many people leave out the olives here to satisfy more pallets. Also I have had them with raisins and olives only one time when I was at my husbands family's home in Houston never in Bolivia. Even better are the sauces that accompany the saltenas they have usually a spicy peanut sauce an olive sauce as well as a spicy salsa and sometimes a green or avacado sauce. Also saltenas vary by region here. Thanks for the recipe. Read More
(19)
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Rating: 3 stars
04/10/2013
My father was born in Bolivia and his family ran a salteneria in La Paz when he was a teenager. I wanted to make my own saltenas so I was happy to find this recipe. I was disapointed about how dry they came out even following the directions to the letter. I'm wondering if I should not have drained the "excess grease" as the recipe calls for and maybe left it in so it would make a sauce of some kind. Read More
(11)
Rating: 5 stars
04/03/2012
I bought the dough discs ready from the market and it worked though the saltenas were smaller. I used beef chunks -which I diced- instead of ground beef and cilantro instead of parsley. These saltenas do not taste quite like the ones I used to have in the South of Peru -and of course they taste differently in different places- but they turned out really good. I Will make this recipe often since it was easy to follow and not really hard to make. Thanks for the recipe. Read More
(8)
Rating: 5 stars
09/25/2011
Great recipe. I made these yesterday and they were a lot of work but so worth it! Impressive!! Read More
(7)
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Rating: 4 stars
03/27/2012
Made these today for my husband who worked in Bolivia years ago. Added 2 cloves of garlic and omitted the raisins. Next time will use stew meat diced finer. They were a hit.. Read More
(6)
Rating: 5 stars
08/27/2011
My family loves these!! They take a little time but are well worth the effort. Read More
(6)
Rating: 4 stars
10/29/2011
This was really good. My other half who is very picky and hates peas and meat pies loved this! He snuck a second one.:) The only change I made was substituting cayenne and chilli powder for the paprika. We were out so I did 1/2 t cayenne and 1/2 t chilli powder. I didn't use that to add to the egg wash just the filling. thanks for the great recipe! Read More
(5)