Spicy Beef Empanadas

Empanadas 001aEmpanadas are a popular Latin American street food. This crescent-shaped pastry can be fried or baked (I prefer to bake mine) and can be filled with anything from cheese to seafood, with one of the most popular fillings being spiced beef mince – sounds like something that would appeal to your average Kiwi!

The pastry for this tasty pie-like delicacy is short, flaky and delicious but best of all is easy to make and handle – just make sure it is well chilled before rolling.

Spicy Beef Empanadas

The filled, uncooked empanadas can be frozen on a baking sheet then transferred to an airtight bag. When ready to serve cook in a preheated oven at 180°C for 35-40 minutes – no need to thaw before cooking.

Makes 8 empanadas

1 free-range egg
1 tbsp milk
EMPANDADA PASTRY
2 cups plain flour
1 tbsp sugar
125g chilled butter, diced
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon white vinegar
SPICY BEEF FILLING
1 medium (150g) onion, finely diced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp Orcona Chipotle Flake or pinch dried chilli flakes
300g beef mince
1 medium (150g) tomato, seeded and diced
¼ cup finely diced red or green capsicum
½ cup chicken stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
½ cup chopped fresh coriander
salt and freshly ground pepper

1              To make the pastry, place flour and sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse again until mixture
resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2              Place egg, wine and vinegar in a small bowl and whisk lightly with a fork to combine. Add  egg mixture to flour and pulse until
pastry just comes together. Turn pastry onto a lightly floured
surface and knead briefly. Shape pastry into a flat disc, wrap in
plastic food wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or until pastry is firm.
3              Meanwhile, make the filling, place onion and oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onions start to soften. Add garlic, ground coriander, cumin and Chipotle Flake and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant.
4              Add mince, tomato and capsicum and cook, stirring and breaking up mince, for 3-4 minutes, then stir in stock and tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes longer or until stock has evaporated. Stir in fresh coriander and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
5              Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
6              On a lightly floured work surface roll out pastry to 3mm thick. Using a 14cm saucer as a guide cut out eight rounds – cover rounds with a damp tea towel or plastic food warp and keep covered while making empanadas. I find it easiest to roll out half the pastry at a time, keeping the other half chilled.
7            To make empanadas, working with one round at a time, place 1 heaped tbsp of mince mixture on one side of the pastry round. Fold pastry over to enclose filling, crimp the edges with a fork to seal. Place on prepared baking tray and cover with a damp tea towel or plastic food wrap. Repeat with remaining pastry rounds and
filling.
8             Place egg and milk in a small bowl and beat with a fork to combine. Brush empanadas with egg mixture.
9              Bake empanadas for 25-35 minutes or until golden.

Happy cooking and eating,

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

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