Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Empanadas: The Lazy Bitches Meat Pie

After reading and cooking from the cookbook "Argentinian Street Food" by Enrique Zanoni and Gaston Stivelmaher I was inspired to create my own Empanada recipe. Not that their recipes aren't any good, they are great but it is fun to bring together your own flavours and I am currently in love with Chipotle chilli's.

Empanadas really are quite a fascinating food. At it's core it is just a meat filled pastry but when you look at it closely you realise this South American favourite actually appears in various forms all over the world. And why wouldn't it? It's meat... encased in pastry, enough said.


Here in Australia our meat pies are a classic example of this. A little larger than the Empanada but the same basic concept, a meat filled pastry and like any good Aussie I love a meat pie. If you haven't chowed down on a hot meat pie whilst drunk, spilling it all down your front and declaring it as the best thing you have ever eaten then you aren't a true Aussie. I have dabbled in making my own meat pies and where they differ from the Empanada is that it requires two types of pastry to create and are quite frankly a bit of a pain in the arse. The base being a savory short crust and the lid being puff pastry they are very time consuming to make from scratch. It just made sense to me to try my hand at Empanadas, they are like the lazy bitches meat pie.

For the pastry recipe I used the one from the Argentinian Street Food book. No need to reinvent the wheel here it was the filling I wanted to customise.



 So for the puffed dough which is a suitable recipe for deep friend Empanadas (the book also provides a recipe for a baked dough) you will need:
  • 1 kg plain flour
  • 25g salt
  • 160 ml sunflower oil
  • 350 ml water (I found I needed a bit more than this as the dough was too stiff so add at your own discretion)

Method:
Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the oil and water and mix with a spoon till combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and need for 10-15 minutes until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

For the baked dough recipe and a large variety of Empanada filling recipes you should purchase the book cause these guys know their Empanadas.

For the Hungry Planet Empanada Filling recipe you will need:
  • 1 brown onion finely diced
  • 1 red capsicum finely diced
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbs cumin seeds dry toasted & ground
  • 500g minced steak
  • 2 birdseye chillis
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbs smoky paprika
  • 2 whole dried chipotle chillis
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper to season
  • 3 shallots (green onions) thinly sliced

Method:

  • Saute onion & capsicum in a tablespoon of oil on medium heat for 10 minutes until tender. Remove from pan & set aside. 
  • Add another tablespoon of oil and add mince to pan & saute on medium heat till browned. 
  • Add cumin, paprika, chipotles, cayenne, tomato paste and chilli's and heat for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • Add Chicken stock, oregano, sugar and add back onion & capsicum. Stir to combine.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Put lid on pan and simmer of low to medium heat for 30 minutes. 
  • Remove lid, increase heat to medium and cook till liquid has reduced to nothing (around 20 minutes).
  • Cool filling in fridge (you can leave overnight for a more intense flavour). 
  • Once cooled add sliced shallots.

For detailed pictures and a range of decorative trimming options for your Empanadas again I would refer you to the book (despite the fact that I appear to be shamelessly plugging this book I do not know the authors or receive any kick backs from you buying this book. I just like the book.)

The basic method is as follows:

  • Roll out your dough (it is quite elastic so you may need to do this in a number of goes not all at once)
  • Cut 14 cm circles using a cookie cutter or freehand if you are super skilled.
  • Place a tablespoon of filling in the centre of the circle.
  • Wet the edge of the dough
  • Fold circle in half to enclose the filling and tightly pinch the seam closed all the way around. Your Empanada will be a half moon shape now.
  • For the trim you see on my Empanadas  you start at one end of the little parcel and pinch the edge of the dough and with a twisting action you fold it over itself. You can be creative here, as long as the parcel is fully sealed the trim can be whatever you like, you can leave it plain if you like.


Once sealed and looking all pretty you gotta deep fry those suckers. With the oil on 180 degrees (use a deep fryer if you aren't confident you won't burn the house down on the stove) drop your little parcels into their oily bath and cook till golden brown and crispy (around 5 minutes). Once cooked shove them in your face cause they are super tasty.

Check out the faces of South America from my parents recent trip there. They spent five weeks exploring Peru, Brazil, Chile, The Galapagos and cruising the Amazon. I was really mean to my dad about the pictures he took in Vietnam...looks like he has been practising, touché dad, touché.









Originally posted on Wednesday, 5 November 2014 by

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