Diego Jacquet’s beef empanadas

On visits to Argentina and Chile I’ve enjoyed empanadas – small savoury pasties – during visits to wine producers; they have often been offered as a welcome mid morning snack or before a meal. Indeed nothing beats a glass of well chilled Argentinian Torrontés wine and freshly baked empanada as you gather round waiting for the ‘parrillada’ grill or barbecue.

There could be several different ones served: beef, chicken and cheese are the most usual and sweet corn is often one of the ingredients.

South American empanadas are typically much smaller and more dainty compared to the Cornish pasty while the equivalent in Spain is flat, round, big enough for several people and most commonly found in the north, especially Galicia (more about those delicious versions to come).

With a barbecue planned for friends this weekend, I’ll be preparing beef empanadas. The last empanadas that I enjoyed, here in London, were made by chef Diego Jacquet of Argentinian restaurant Casa Malevo. He’s kindly provided me with the recipe. As Diego says, buenprovecho!

Casa Malevo is located in Connaught Village, London W2. www.casamalevo.com

Recipe  for 18 empanadas

For the pastry:

500 gr flour, 000 quality

125gr lard

1 egg

200ml water

1tsp salt

For the filling:

500 grs minced Argentine or British quality beef

500 grs minced onions

1 bunch spring onions

2 cups of potato brunoise (finely diced potatoes)

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp dried oregano

3 tsp chopped parsley

olive oil

salt & pepper

Procedure:

The secret of a good empanada is moisture! That’s why my recipe has the same amount of meat and onions.

1- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4

2- For the pastry dough, combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.

3- Cut the lard into sugar cube sized chunks, add to the flour, and rub the fat into the flour until it forms fine crumbs. Add the mixed egg and water to form a soft dough. Set aside in the fridge to rest for an hour.

4- For the empanada filling, heat one spoon of olive oil in a large fry pan at medium heat. Add the onion and 2 spoons of fine sea salt, cover and let it sweat for 10 minutes.

5- Add all spices and meat and let it cook cover for other 15 minutes stirring continuously. Return the meat and juices to the pan and mix well, set aside to go cold.

6- Finally add potatoes, finely chopped spring onions & parsley let it cook only 5 more minutes. Take aside, rectify season and let it rest.

7- To fill the empanadas, take the pastry out of the fridge, and on a well-floured surface, roll out a thin sheet. Using a saucer or a tea plate, cut out discs of pastry.

8- On one half of the pastry circle place the filling, brush the edge with egg, fold over, and crimp the edges together. (if you are not used to, just press the edge with a fork)

9- Brush with egg and place on a greased baking tray.

10- Bake for ten minutes or until golden.

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