Of all the food in Latin and South America, the empanada would have to be the most widely known and loved. It’s definitely a favourite of the Paez family, bringing with it memories of Ecuador, family and travels through South America.
Food and dance are the heart and soul of Latin America. When you go out to dance it would be to also share a meal with friends and family, or when you have big family feasts every week you’d combine the food with music and dance.
Today we wanted to share with you a recipe we like to use to make our empanadas. We made mince and feta cheese ones over the weekend.
Like in South America, make it with your family and friends.
Louis loving the look of that empanada that his mum, Raquel, made.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
For the mince filling
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
450g beef mince
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, coarsely chopped
15 pitted black olives
Melted butter, to brush
For the cheese filling
300g of Feta Cheese
For the pastry
3 cups plain flour
100g butter, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk, lightly whisked
5 tablespoons chilled water
HOW YOU MAKE THEM
STEP 1 – Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until soft. Add the mince and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps, for 5 minutes or until cooked. Add the cumin, and salt, pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool.
Andrea getting the mince ready.
STEP 2 – Meanwhile, to make the pastry, place flour, butter and salt in the bowl and mix until dough is formed. Add the egg yolk and water, and process until the dough just starts to come together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to rest.
Get your hands into the dough!
STEP 3 – Preheat oven to 200°C. Line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface until about 3mm thick. Use a round 12cm-diameter pastry cutter to cut 15 discs from the pastry.
STEP 4 – Stir the egg into the mince mixture and season with salt and pepper. Place 1 heaped tablespoon of the mince mixture in the centre of 1 pastry disc. Top with 1 olive. Or add in your cheese and chive filling. Brush the edges of the pastry with water. Fold in half to enclose the filling. Press the edges together, then crimp and fold to create a wavy edge. You can use your fingers or a fork like we have. Place, sealed-side up, on the lined tray. Repeat with remaining mince mixture, pastry discs and olives. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
Raquel putting together her feta cheese and chive empanada.
A close up of the feta cheese filling.
Crimp the ends with your fingers or use a fork like we have.
STEP 5 – Brush the empanadas with melted butter. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until golden. Serve with lemon wedges.
Hope you enjoy and if you make them and then share your photos on Facebook make sure to tag us in so we can see your creations!
Raquel and Andrea