I don’t want to blow my own trumpet too much – well, ok, so this whole blog is about blowing my own trumpet – but these were amazing. Pastry’s quite tricky to get just right for the occasion, and on this occasion it needed to be strong enough to hold a soggy filling and not break apart, but soft enough it is a pleasure to eat. Amazingly, I got it spot on and these empanadas were just right for holding in a grubby paw and chomping on. They might look like they’re stuck to the tray, but they lifted off very easily, with just the faintest of thwucks, and no crumbled edges. Plus the teff flour in the pastry gave them a nice healthy bronzed hue. Everything an empanada should be, perfect portable lunch food, or have two for dinner with some warmed sweetcorn.
These empanadas are perfect for filling with whatever you want, be it chicken or veggies, or an entirely different beef filling. I removed the boiled eggs from the original recipe (boiled eggs really have very little place in nice food imo), but upped the raisins for a little sweet nudge. The pastry would also be perfect for Cornish pasties, in which case the filling would need to be heavier on the beef, with potatoes, and swede in there.
1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend (maize, rice, soy)
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup brown teff flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 stick butter
2 medium eggs
1/3 cup cold water
1 tablespoon light vinegar (I used cider vinegar because it’s all I had)
Egg wash for brushing finished empanadas
1 small onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed chillies
250g minced beef
1 heaped tablespoon raisins
1 heaped tablespoon chopped green olives
Half green pepper, diced
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
1. Sift the flours and salt together. Chop the butter into small cubes and rub into the flours with your fingertips, until you have a mixture that resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl beat the eggs, water and vinegar until well mixed. Make a well in the middle of the flour and butter mixture and pour about 2/3 of the egg mixture in. Stir in with a fork to combine with the flour. Add more liquid just until the mixture starts to come together, then get your hands in there and squidge it about until you have a smooth ball of dough. Flatten into a disc, wrap well in clingfilm and move to the fridge to chill for at least an hour, or up to 6 hours.
2. When you are ready to start making the empanadas, preheat the oven to 200 C. Remove the dough from the fridge to warm up a little while you make the filling, and make it a little easier to work with.
3. In a large frying pan heat a drizzle of oil over a medium-high heat. Fry the onion until translucent, then add the garlic and fry for a further minute. Add the cumin, oregano and crushed chillies, and then add the beef and fry until browned all over. Add the raisins, chopped olives and dived green pepper, along with salt and black pepper and stir well. Finally add the chopped tomatoes. Keeping the heat quite high let the mixture bubble down until there is no runny liquid left, and the mixture is only slightly gloopy. Set aside to cool (to speed up the cooling process, spread the filling out on a large tray).
4. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and roll each piece out into a round about 1/2 inch thick, and roughly 6 inches in diameter. Once rolled, transfer the discs to a baking sheet. Place 3 tablespoons of the filling on each dough disc (don’t overfill), then moisten the edges of the pastry with a little water and fold the empanadas over into semi-circles. Crimp the edges with a fork, then brush the top of the empanadas with a little egg wash. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden on top and crispy. Remove and leave to cool for 5 minutes before attacking.
Makes 6. These keep well in the fridge. You can microwave them to reheat them, though they go a little soggy and might not hold up to being eaten one-handed if you do this.