Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Empanadas de Carne - Meat Empanadas

If there is one food I have to put on the most requested list from Argentinean delicacies - empanadas are up there with Alfajores!  When I was recently in Argentina, one of the most amazing culinary experiences in my life is visiting my Aunty Marie... she makes the most delicious empanadas - it's like a snack before the amazing BBQ is finished!  Meals at Aunty Marie's are like a banquet...a feast...she makes the most amazing meals - and you often wonder if it's possible to finish all the food... but  in the beautiful slow cook, slow eat tradition of an Argentinean meal... somehow you manage to talk for hours, eating amazing food and always...always have room for more!

There's nothing more satisfying that munching on empanadas - knowing the feast is yet to come!  They are also amazing as left over food - I love nothing more than having empanadas left over for next day munching...although there are rarely any left over in my experience!


Empanadas can be made with all sorts of fillings  sweet and savoury! I'll start with the traditional mince meat filling.



Empanadas de Carne (Empanadas de Marie!)
















Ingredients

Pastry:
The traditional pastry is made with lard  instead of butter... for those who feel they would rather not cook with lard I have added an alternate recipe.  Fresh lard is no better or worse to us than butter... it is lard which is made to keep in refrigeration on supermarket shelves which contain trans fats... so if you can get your hands on fresh lard (unprocessed) - definitely use this in your recipe!

  • 300g of plain flour
  • 1/2 cup of lard (boiled and cooled so it is liquid like)
  • 6 teaspoons of cold water
(alternate: 4 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 200g of butter, 1 cup of hot water).

Filling:
  • 250g of mince meat
  • 2 diced onions
  • 150g of whole olives (green stuffed olives work best just make sure you take out any pips for any olives you use)
  • 2 hard boiled eggs cut into small pieces
  • 1 small box of sultanas (40g)
To make the filling:
Lightly brown the onions in a pan adding the mince meat and cooking through.  Add salt to taste.  Once the meat is cooked add the box of sultanas to the mix and sir through.  Leave te mixture to cool down.  Place in a bowl the egg and in another bowl the olives.  Leave to the sde until you have made the pastry ready for filling.

To make the pastry:  Place the flour in a bowl.  Place the lard in the bowl mixing hrough and adding the water as necessary to make a dough.  Leave to rest for 15 minutes. 

Roll out the dough into a thickness of about 1/2 cm. Using a plate - 10cm or so in diameter (you can make them bigger/smaller to taste) cut out circles ready to fill.

In each circle of pastry place in he centre (leaving approx 2 cm spacing from edge) some mince, a piece of egg and one olive.  Pull one edge of the pastry over creating a crescent moon shape and turn up the edges.  For a nice patter use a fork to pat down the edges or turn up.  Sometimes it helps to dunk your finger in some water and run arond the edge before sealing to help seal the pastry.  Set aside in a well lined baking tray.

There are a few methods for cooking the empanadas.  You can place in a pre-heated oven on high, 200 degrees, for 15 minutes or untl golden.  You can also deep fry.  If you are going to deep fry you should fry in lard (unprocessed) as it adds a better flavour to the empanadas and this is how it's been done for centuries!

You can see the live recipe on Cocina de Mama's YouTube Channel.

Cocinar, comer, ser feliz!
Leticia

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