We’ve discovered a neighbourhood secret - incredible empanadas delivered every morning to our local Panadería. A van pulls up, boxes are unloaded and a sea of customers follows the enticing scent into the shop to get the first choice of carne (meat) empanadas. Hangover cures, picnic fodder, party snacks, lunches to go; you can’t go wrong with these gorgeous ‘meat pockets’ as our American friends like to call them.
What we're aiming for: 4-5 large empanadas made with a spicy, ground meat filling
150g of carne molida (minced beef)
½ red pepper
1 garlic clove
Some of your favourite cheese, grated
Red chillies (3)
Diced sun dried tomatoes (4)
1 roll of empanada dough (store-bought or homemade - up to you!)
1 egg, beaten
To prepare the meaty filling: - Add the garlic and onion to a few glugs of olive oil in a pan on med heat for 2-3 minutes until golden - Add beef, brown it for a minute - Add the pepper slices, chillies, 1 tsp of ground cumin, 1 tbsp of paprika and a pinch of salt and pepper - Now add the diced sun dried tomatoes
Our secret tip: Add in a couple tablespoons of Ballymaloe Relish if you can find it (an Irish creation you'll be glad you found)
- Let it all cook for 6-7 minutes - Add a cup of water - Bring to the boil and let it simmer until it has reduced into a tomatoey paste
Now to construct the empanada pockets: - Prepare your dough on baking paper into 4 or 5 squares if you can (it’s helpful to stick with squares to keep the folds even) - Place a large spoonful of your meat mixture in the middle of each square of dough, spreading it around the centre, avoiding the edges - Fold in two opposite sides toward each other - Fold in the last two sides on top of those - Pinch any openings closed - With the beaten egg, brush a small amount on each now-closed empanada, focusing on the seams and pinches
Now to cook 'em to perfection: - Pop as many empanadas on a tray, and heat in the oven at 200deg C for 40 minutes, keeping an eye at all times to ensure they don’t brown too much on the bottom - If it looks like they are completely done on the bottom and not at all on the top, stick them under the grill flame for a few minutes to brown nicely
Once out of the oven and cooled slightly, serve an empanada to each person, saving some for the inevitable seconds. We love to use these as a starter or snacking dish when guests are around!