April 5 – E – Empanadas
Aprils’ A toZ Blogging Challenge
When dating my now husband, I asked what kind of food did they have in Argentina. Of course, I was expecting him to talk about spicy tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, etc… – oh how very ignorant was I! His answer was steak and potatoes. Argentina is not Mexico, but being a simple Canadian, I thought that all latin food was the same. What he failed to enlighten me about was the delectable empanada – a now favourite of mine. Essentially, it is a meat, or ham/cheese, or fish, or chicken, or vegetable (love tomato, basil, mozzarella too) wrapped in a pie-like shell. Think of it as the tortierre, or samosa, or Jamaican patty in South America – sort of.
It wasn’t until his mom visited us while we were newly coupled and made me these yummy empanadas, which soon became a favourite. Then when we visited Argentina the first time, my favourite meals were always with empanadas. Given that Santa Fe is surrounded by a river delta, river fish (mild white fish) empanadas are a particular delight! However, my favorite is still the beef empanada!
Through the years, Cristian has come to make his own version – the best version I’ve ever had! Essentially it is sauted equal parts ground beef (2lbs) to onions (2lbs) in oil – cooked slowly in a pot on the stove. Cut up two to three red peppers and saute them in with the beef and onions. Then season it up with some salt, heaps of cumin (no idea how much, but heaps to tastiness), a little brown sugar. In Canada we use puff pastry for the shells, but in Argentina you can buy the actual empanada dough discs. After the meat has been cooked leave it overnight (if you have the time to do that) before putting it into the crust because, like any great stew or chili, it is better the next day when the flavours fuse together. Then when putting it into the crust – add 5 or 6 raisins and a big green olive. Fold the dough over the beef mixture and twist/seal the dough. Place on a greased cookie sheet and into a 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes – until the dough is browned.
These are truly a delight and always popular with a crowd.