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FRIED EMPANADAS WITH BEEF OR CHICKEN FILLING


Ingredients:

  1    kg    Plain flour
250  g      Butter, lard or margarine 
  1   Egg
400   ml   Salted water                       
                 Beef filling:
150   g      Butter, lard or margarine 
  2     tb     Oil
750   g      Minced beef 
  8   Or 10 green (spring) onions 
  1   tb      Paprika                       
                Salt and pepper 
  4    Hard boiled eggs, chopped
250   g   Green olives 
  1   t      Ground chilli   
1/4   c   Tomato puree 
  1   t      Ground cumin 
  1   t      Mixed spices 
  1   t      Cinnamon 
  1   c     Beef stock                       
              Chicken filling:
500   g   Minced chicken 
  3    tb   To 4 tb oil
200   g   Red capsicum, finely chopped
300   g   Onions, finely chopped 
  4    tb   Tomato puree 
  3    Hard-boiled eggs, chopped 

Dough: Oil or a mixture of oil and solid vegetable  shortening for deep frying.   

To make dough: Sift the flour, add the melted  shortening and the egg. Add the salted water bit by  bit and mix to a firm dough. Knead for 10 minutes if  making by hand, 4-5 minutes if using an electric mixer  with a dough hook, or 1-2 minutes if using a food  processor with a dough hook. Leave it to rest for 15  to 30 minutes.   

To make the beef filling: Heat the oil and shortening  in a frying pan and saute the green onions, finely  chopped. Add the meat and stir until it is cooked.  Stir in the tomato puree and remaining ingredients,  cook for a few minutes more. Leave until completely  cold before assembling empanadas.   

To make the chicken filling: Heat the oil and fry the  onions, then add the capsicum and dry until soft. Add  the minced chicken and stir until it has all changed  color. Season to taste, add the tomato puree, mix  well and simmer for a further 3 minutes. Leave until  completely cold before assembling empanadas.   

Assembly and cooking: Roll out the dough about 3 mm  thick and, using a saucer or something similar as a  guide, cut into 24-30 circles about 14 cms in  diameter. Divide whichever filling mixture you are  using between the circles, putting it on one side of the circle only. Moisten the outer rim of the dough  with water and fold over into a semi-circle.

Curve the  ends of the folded side together a little to form a  crescent, then secure the joined edges by folding  them over each other in small sections to form a  "rope" effect (if this sounds too confusing, just  press together and decorate with a fork in the usual  way). Heat about 6-8 cm deep frying oil to very hot  and deep fry the empanadas one or two at a time just  until golden. Remove from the oil immediately and  drain well on kitchen paper. Serve very hot.
 
Halve the filling ingredients or double the dough if  making both beef and chicken empanadas. Empanadas  often include raisins or sultanas which create an  interesting flavour contrast with the meat. A handful  can be added to either of these recipes if you like.

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