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27 August 2014

Beef Empanada

The empanada is a hearty snack that's sure to please. With the beef-veggie filling encased in lightly browned pastry, this dish looks time-consuming to make, but my version is, well, easy as pie!

I find making the dough from scratch daunting, so I'm using pre-made pastry sheets instead. That said, the shape of the empanada are not the traditional half-circle, but rather triangles or rectangles as I do not want wasteage.  Also, the veggie filling comes from the pre-cut, frozen pack. That's a substantial part of preparation time cut down, and the best part is, the result tastes just as amazing (tested on friends and kids!).

One comment made by a friend was that we can add some hard boiled eggs too, but I'm keeping to the recipe I used below.  You can add hard boiled eggs to the filling if you wish.

The yield is 18-20 pieces empanada easily.  But we just used 4 pieces pastry sheets so we came up with 16 (4 per sheet) - we ate the leftover filling with rice :-).

1/2 kg ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped into small pieces
4 bulbs garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1 medium potato, diced into same size as the frozen veggies
1.5 cups frozen vegetables (carrots, green peas, corn)
1.5 cups raisin
1/2 cup tomato sauce
4 pastry sheets
1/2 cup tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste
2 heaping teaspoonfuls brown sugar
1 medium egg
2 tbsp milk
cooking oil


Cut each pastry sheet into quarters and set aside to thaw.

Heat a glug of cooking oil over medium heat in a pan. Saute the onion and garlic.
Add the minced beef, mixing occasionally until the raw reddish colour has turned light brown.

Add the tomato sauce and diced potatoes and mix thoroughly. After a couple of minutes, add the frozen veggies. No need to thaw. Also add the raisins. Alternate between covering and mixing, until the veggies have partly thawed. Do not be too concerned about the veggies being completely cooked at this stage, as they will have lots of chances to do so in the oven.

Next, add the brown sugar, mix, then season with salt and pepper.

Remove from heat. Minced meat filling done!

Make the egg wash by scrambling the egg with the milk and a dash of salt.

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Take a quarter pastry sheet, then place a spoonful of the minced meat filling in the middle. Brush half of the egg wash onto 2 adjacent edges of the pastry sheet, then fold over the filling, pressing the edges firmly to seal. You can make triangles or rectangles, it's up to you. I found out though that the triangle can be a bit fussy, especially if the pastry sheet was not cut into a near-square!

Use the tines of a fork to press on the edges to further seal it.

Place empanadas on a baking tray lined with baking sheet. Brush the tops with the egg wash - this will give the empanada shiny coat.

Finally, pierce the top a couple of times with a fork to enable the pastry to 'breathe'.

Bake for 30 mins, or until lightly browned.
Let it rest to a manageable temperature before serving.
Some like having a dip to go with it, so have some ketchup, Mang Tomas, or sweet and sour sauce handy.

We made rectangular-shaped ones as well, which, I think, looks much better than the triangular ones.

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