My Empanadas are an easy recipe combining homemade pastry with soft beef and vegetables. This Mexican recipe is like a Cornish Pasty except with attitude and a lovely warming hit from the pepper flakes and paprika. Serve as a main dish or as a snack all year round. They are best served immediately but I also make them in advance and store them in a container for lunchboxes.
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup onions finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 pitted green olives quartered
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 1/2 lb Lean ground beef 450 g
- 1/4 cup seedless raisins soaked
- 1 tsp dried hot pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 large eggs hard-cooked wedged
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin seed
- 1/2 tsp Salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper to taste
- Combine the onions, olive oil, and beef broth or water in a skillet and boil over high heat until the liquid is evaporated.
- Add the meat and cook, stirring constantly, until brown.
- Stir in the raisins, hot pepper flakes, paprika, cumin, and salt and pepper.
- Set the filling aside.
- To make the dough, combine the flour, butter and salt in a large bowl.
- Using your fingers, rub the flour and butter together until they are blended and look like coarse meal.
- Add the water and mix until the dough can be formed into a compact ball.
- Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, making a rough circle about 1/8 in. (3 mm) thick.
- As you roll the dough lift it up occasionally and dust underneath with flour to prevent sticking to the work surface.
- Cut into rounds about 5 in. (13 cm) in diameter with a cookie cutter or empty tin can of the right size, or using a plate or saucer of the right size as a guide, cut the circles with a knife.
- Gather the resulting scraps of dough, roll and repeat until you have 12 to 14 circles.
- Place about 1 1/2 tbsp. of the filling in the centre of each circle, leaving the edges of the dough exposed around it.
- Top the filling with a piece of egg and 2 pieces of olive, and moisten the exposed dough with a finger dipped in water.
- Fold the empanada in half to form a crescent and press the edges firmly together.
- Decorate the edges of the empanadas by pressing the dough with the tines of a fork, or by pinching with the fingers.
- Arrange the empanadas on an ungreased baking sheet and bake them in the middle of a pre-heated 400F (200C) oven for about 5 minutes, or until they are lightly browned.
- With a spatula transfer to a heated platter and serve immediately.