23 June 2010

Jugosas Empanadas Criollas Argentinas

At Easter I stopped in at my friend's parents' house, because Kush had come home for the holiday.  Clara, her Mum (of avocado + argentina = muy gustoso fame), had made argentinian empanadas.  I had only ever come across Mexican-style empanadas, which are a completely different kettle of proverbial fish.  Argentinian empanadas resemble a half-moon pastie, or pie, and have the most amazing flavour!  When asked for the recipe I was lucky, as Clara was only too happy to share - she even wrote some tips alongside, to assist the kiwi cook (traditionally there are some minor differences, such as using diced veal rather than mince, and a sort of clarified butter). 

Clara's empanadas were larger then mine, but I was making these for my Mum and Larry's wedding party BBQ, so bite-size was de rigeur.  I was so happy with these little beasts and can't WAIT to make them again.  I only bought 4 sheets of pastry and the recipe makes enough meat filling for at least double that.  I've frozen the excess, ready to make more to take camping in a couple of weeks.  Enjoy, these are so far my favourite Claration. 

savoury short pastry - I use the ready rolled sheets from the supermarket
1 kg beef mince
3 onions, diced finely
2 tbsp smoked paprika (normal is also fine)
1 tbsp dried crushed red pepper (chilli flakes)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups tinned tomatoes (or homemade, if you have it)
dash olive oil
pitted olives (optional)
  1. Prepare meat filling - heat oil to saut√© onions until softened (but not browned).  Add mince and brown lightly.  Stir in spices amd tomatoes.  Allow to simmer for a few minutes, then take off heat and allow mixture to cool. 
  2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. 
  3. Cut circles of rolled-out pastry (I used a lid from a plastic container which was about 12cm in diameter). 
  4. Place about a teaspoon of mixture into centre of pastry circle (and an olive, if you're using them), fold over and press edges closed, with fork or pressing - it can help to brush a little water around the edge before pressing, to help it stick. 
  5. Place empanadas on buttered/greased baking tray and bake until golden brown.  I finished mine under the grill for a minute or two, to get some real colour (brushing the tops with butter or egg will get a good glaze, but it's more effort). 
  6. Serve warm - I didn't serve with sauces, but salsa, or a soy-based dipping sauce would work well.  The paprika flavour is pretty strong, so they're good alone, or perhaps with sour cream.  YUM!! 

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