Debate rages over which country invented the empanada and many varieties using different sorts of pastry abound. Empanadas are the ultimate snack food. They can be filled with any combination of cheese, chilli, meat, tuna, prawns, vegetables, egg and olives. Some recipes are baked whereas others are deep-fried.
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 130 g butter
- 200 g onions, chopped
- 200 g spring onions, chopped
- ½ tsp aji chilli powder
- 1 kg minced beef (not too lean)
- 250 ml hot beef stock
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves (optional)
- 1 kg shortcrust pastry
- plain flour
- handful green olives, chopped
- 130 g sultanas
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and roughly chopped
- ground cumin
- extra butter, melted
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.
Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and add the onion and spring onion. Fry until the onion is translucent. Add the aji powder, then the beef. Cook until the meat is brown, then add the hot stock and simmer until the beef is cooked through. Add the sugar and season with salt, then add the paprika, cinnamon, ground cloves and a little water. Cook over low heat until the liquid has evaporated. Leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Take pieces of pastry about the size of golf balls and roll out to circles 10–15 cm in diameter. Dust lightly with flour. Put a generous spoonful of meat filling in the centre of each round and add a few pieces of olive, some sultanas and egg. Sprinkle with cumin. Fold the pastry into a half-moon, then fold in the edges, crimping them with your fingers as you go.
Place the empanadas on a greased tray and brush the tops with melted butter. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.