Empanadas are highly regarded in Argentina and can be found on almost every menu. Whether served fried or oven baked, filled with meat, fish or cheese, empanadas have become a staple of Argentinean cuisine. While other countries have their own take on this meat filled patty, the Argentineans are one of the most passionate about them and even have takeaway and home delivery outlets solely for empanadas! The classic filling is the beef filled variety but I wanted to make my own version, combining the empanada casing and a ricotta and salami calzone filling. These empanadas are great to serve at a party or even as an Argentinean dinner.
Makes 6 Beef & 6 Ricotta and Salami Empanadas
~For the pastry~
450g plain flour
1/2tsp black pepper
1tsp baking powder
60g cold lard
60g cold butter
200ml cold water
1 egg, for brushing pastry
~Traditional Beef filling~
250g sirloin steak, fat removed and finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 eggs, hard boiled and shelled
1/2tsp cumin seeds
1/2tsp chilli powder
10 small black olives, such as leccino, sliced
2tsp tomato paste
~Ricotta & Salami filling~
150g salami block, such as napoli salami, 1/2cm cubes
1 mozzarella ball, dried and finely chopped
50g pecorino cheese, finely grated
1tsp black pepper
1) In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, black pepper and baking powder and mix well.
2) Cube the lard and butter into 1cm cubes and combine them with the flour and incorporate by rubbing the fat and flour together, until they form into fine crumbs.
3) Add the chilled water, bit by bit, until it forms into a soft dough. Place in the fridge to rest for 1hr.
4) Meanwhile, in a large frying pan add 3tsp of olive oil and the finely chopped onion and garlic and fry for 2/3mins. Then add the finely chopped steak and cook until browned. Add the cumin, black olives, paprika, tomato paste and chilli powder and stir well. Season well with salt and black pepper. Chop the eggs and add to the pan, mix well and cook for a further 5mins, then leave to cool completely.
5) Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add the ricotta, cubed salami, mozzarella and pecorino and mix very well. No need to add salt, as pecorino is salty, but add 1tsp of black pepper.
6) Preheat the oven to 200C/ 390F/ gas mark 6.
7) Half the pastry dough and on a well floured surface, roll it out into a thin sheet. Using a saucer, cut six circles. And repeat the same process for the other half of the pastry dough.
8) On one side of each circle fill with each filling. Brush the edges with egg and fold over and twist braid the edges to close. Or just crimp the edges.
9) Brush with egg and place in the preheated oven for 15mins or until golden.
*Cook's Tip: You can make the empanadas and freeze to cook at a later date. Just egg wash before placing in the oven. Also if your in a hurry or not confident making your own pastry, you can use a ready made puff pastry.