6 Apr 2012

Around the world in 18 Fridays- Week 9- Latin America

You can tell I'm starting to run out of countries, can't you?

Not that it's a bad thing to be discovering new and ususual cuisines. In fact, I guess that's the point of this whole thing!

This week, I made empanadas. They were really, really good! 

Maybe not entirely authentic...

but they still tasted amazing!

They had black bean, corn and cheese, which is a great combination, and beans are high on protein for all us vegetarians.

The original recipe called for empanada dough, but quite frankly there wasn't time.

Instead I used shortcrust pastry, and then I ran out of that, so I used puff. Just that frozen stuff you buy at the supermarket!

If I had time in future I would probably make the proper dough for a more authentic flavour, but these tasted just fine.

Shortcrust was slightly more like the real thing than puff though, so I'd recommend using that if you've got a choice.

So why not try something a bit new this week?

Black Bean and Corn Empanadas
Based on: http://southamericanfood.about.com/od/snacksstreetfood/r/cornempanadas.htm

  • Empanada Dough (here), or a packet of frozen shortcrust pastry
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 5-6 scallions, chopped fine
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained or 500g prepared black beans
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 225g Tasty cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 egg
  1. Prepare the empanada dough and place in the refrigerator to chill, wrapped in saran wrap.
  2. Pour boiling water over the golden raisins and let soak for 10 minutes, then drain. Set aside.
  3. Add the vegetable oil to a heavy skillet and place over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, cumin, garlic salt, and aji paste, and sauté until the onions are very soft and translucent, about 5-8 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, the green onions, and the sugar and sauté, stirring, for about 5 minutes more, or until excess liquid has cooked away and tomatoes are beginning to stick to the pan.
  5. Add the black beans and sauté, until excess liquid is cooked away, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the corn, raisins, and lime juice, and cook for five minutes more.
  7. Remove mixture from heat and scrape into a heat proof bowl. Let cool to room temperature, then stir in the cheese cubes and the cilantro.
  8. Chill mixture for 2 hours, or overnight.
  9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  10. If using pastry, divide each sheet into 4 and skip to step 12
  11. Divide the dough into 20 pieces (for large empanadas), or about 40 pieces (for small, appetizer size empanadas). 
  12. Roll each piece of dough into a circle about 1/4 inch thick. (Circles will be about 6 inches in diameter for the larger empanadas, and about 3 1/2 inches for the smaller ones).
  13. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling in the middle of each piece of dough (1 teaspoon for small empanadas).
  14. Fold the dough over the filling to make a semicircle or triangle. Press the edges together firmly to seal.
  15. Fold the edge over itself and crimp decoratively.
  16. Brush empanadas generously with beaten egg. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.
  17. Let cool and dust with powdered sugar.
  18. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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