Traditional in Spain, Portugal and Latin and South America, empanadas are little pastry pockets with an intensely flavoured savoury filling. They are great eaten any time but make a particularly good tapas-style snack with a cold beer.
- 150 g unsalted butter
- 300 g plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
- 45- 75 ml (roughly 2½-4 tbsp) water
- Beaten egg, to finish
- 4 chicken thighs, on the bone and skin on
- 15 ml (3 tsp) olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 100 g chorizo, finely diced
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 50 g raisins
- Salt and pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Heat oven to 180°C/gas 4. For the filling, put the chicken thighs in a small roasting dish, season well all over with salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes until cooked through. Set aside to cool a little.
2. Meanwhile, make the pastry. Melt the butter and leave it to cool slightly. Put the flour in a large bowl and mix in the salt. Pour in the butter and egg. Start mixing, adding enough water as you go until you have a soft dough. Turn this out onto your work surface and knead it gently for a couple of minutes, until smooth. Return the dough to its bowl, cover and set aside to rest while you prepare the filling.
3. To prepare the filling, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook for 10–12 minutes, until soft.
4. Add the garlic, chorizo, cumin seeds and raisins. Cook over a medium heat for 5–8 minutes, stirring often, until the chorizo is cooked. Remove from the heat.
5. Once the chicken thighs are cool enough to handle, remove the skin. Pull all the meat from the bones and chop it roughly. Add to the chorizo mixture. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed (the chorizo is already quite salty), then leave to cool completely.
6. Heat your oven to 200°C/gas 6 and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.
7. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough to a thickness of 3–4 mm. Use a 12 cm cutter or a small bowl to cut out 10 discs. You will probably need to re-roll the offcuts once to get this many. Divide the filling between the discs. Dampen the edges of the dough with water then fold over one half of each disc to make a semicircular parcel. Press the edges together firmly then crimp or press the edges with a fork.
8. Put the empanadas on the baking sheet and brush with beaten egg. Bake for 15–20 minutes, until golden. Eat them warm, on their own or with a chilli sauce.