Beef Empanadas

Last night we went to a friend’s house for paella and it was the highlight of my week.  I knew my kids might get a little impatient waiting for this huge paella to cook so I made a batch of kiddie friendly empanadas to tie them over.

Four years ago I was standing in my friend Amanda’s kitchen as part of an empanada cook off.  Not a competitive ‘cook off’, just cooking lots of empanadas for the school fete.  I had never made an empanada before so I was jumping in the deep end and it was wonderful.  We also made curries and samosas.  There is nothing quite like communal cooking, sitting around a big kitchen table with lots of other ladies folding samosas and drinking tea.

Making empanadas by myself isn’t quite as fun but they are still delicious.  I will get the kids in the kitchen next time and set up an assembly line.

For the filling I used beef mince, tomatoes, spices and chopped up boiled eggs.  I believe empanadas are meant to have olives but I omitted these to make these as kiddie friendly as possible.  They were such a hit with all the kids and adults.  Elliott saw me putting another batch in the oven today and he cheered!

For speed I used bought pastry.  I used puff pastry because my kids love it but you can use shortcrust pastry if you prefer.  Amanda showed me that the rim of one of her martini glasses was the perfect size for cutting out an empanada.  None of my cutters seemed to be the right size so I searched the glassware and found a glass dessert bowl was the perfect size to get four circles out of each sheet of puff pastry with little wastage.

Fill the pastry rounds with a small spoonful of filling then brush the edge of pastry with a mix of egg and milk.  Then fold in half and use a fork to seal the edges together.  Prick the top of the pastry a few times with the fork so the hot air can escape and arrange the empanadas on a baking tray before baking.

They are perfect just served on their own hot or cold.  I prefer them piping hot but Levi was saying he would love some in his lunch box for school.  Next time I will make double and store some in the freezer uncooked.  Then for a quick midweek dinner I can pop some in the oven and serve with a salad.  But they are ideal snack food. With all the footy finals on at the moment I might need to make a few more batches to fuel all my footy fans.

beef empanadas

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
250g beef mince
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
400g tin of crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
6 sheets of puff pastry
1 egg whisked with a tablespoon of milk

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.  Line 2 baking trays.

In a large frypan heat the oil then add the chopped onion.  Cook until soft and add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the beef mince and brown, breaking up the mince to ensure it is thoroughly cooked.

Add the oregano, cumin and coriander and cook for a minute then add tomatoes, salt, pepper, and sugar.  Bring to the boil then simmer, stirring every now and then, for about 15 minutes or until liquid has reduced.  Take off the heat and cool before stirring in the boiled eggs.

Cut 4 rounds out of each pastry sheet and place a small spoonful of the beef mix on each one.  Brush a little of the egg and milk mixture on the edges then fold over the pastry to enclose the filling.  Use a fork to press the edges together.  Prick the top of the empanadas with the fork and arrange pastries on a baking tray.  Brush with the egg mix.

Bake for 15 minutes or until pastries are golden brown and warmed through.

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