It’s the first time I manage to participate in Bread Baking Day, although I have intended to do so many times. All those grand plans, all that talk and no action, that’s pretty much me, but every once in a while I surprise myself. Like today.
This month, the BBD is hosted by sweet Gretchen Noelle of Canela and Comino, who also happens to be a fellow Bread Baking Babe. The theme Gretche Noelle chose for this month was Latin, meaning bread originating from Latin America. Having very little experience from Latin food, I turned to my old buddy Google who after a while suggested something that I at least recognized – empanadas.
For most Americans, I guess that empanadas are anything but exotic, but for a European – well, at least for me – they’re a bit more unusual. I had never made them, or eaten them, or didn’t even know exactly what they were.
But the concept of filled pastries isn’t unheard of in Europe (or my kitchen) – pirogs or pierogi are common in Finland, Russia, Poland and the Baltic countries. It’s quite funny though, when I looked this up on Wikipedia I find a long article on pierogi which despite it’s length failed to mention the Finnish pirogs AND the Latin American empanadas. On the other hand, it established the similarity to dumplings and ravioli, leaving me wondering about the logic and/or lack of peer review on that article.
As a complete empanadas rookie I didn’t want to rely on just one recipe, I wanted to get some statistical evidence on what the ordinary empanada should contain. I didn’t exactly walk through the entire internet, but it seemed that there should be meat, hard-boiled eggs and olives. It also seemed that there should be raisins, but I pretended not to see that, since – well frankly, I’m not too fond of sweet things in my savoury
Oops, I hope that this is eligible for the BBD – the fact that it’s filled shouldn’t automatically make this a non-bread?
Rather Basic Empanadas
200 ml/0,8 cups milk or water, lukewarm
20 g/0,7 oz fresh yeast
100/0,4 cup ml olive oil
1 tsp salt
700 ml/3 cups AP flour
1 egg, beaten, for brushing
1 Tbsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 small red pepper, minced,
or 1 tsp ground chili pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 tomato, diced
300 g/1,1 lb ground beef
1 small, yellow onion, diced
2 eggs, hard-cooked, chopped
12 seeded, black olives, chopped
- Dissolve the yeast in the milk/water, add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Beat or knead the dough at least 5 minutes. Add water or flour as needed, the dough should be tacky but not sticky. Let rise for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
- Fry the onion lightly in some olive oil a medium hot skillet, then add the meat a little at a time. When the meat is browned, add the tomato, garlic and the spices. Continue to fry 5–10 minutes, add a little water if it gets too dry. Add salt to taste, and maybe more spices too, the meat should be really tasty and quite hot. Finally, add the eggs and olives and remove the skillet from the heat.
- Preheat the oven to 200 °C/400 °F.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll to 0,5 cm/0,25 inch thick. Use a glass or a large cookie cutter and take out 12 rounds. Add 1-3 Tbsp filling on each round. Fold each round in half and seal the edges with a fork. Brush the empanadas with the beaten egg.
- Bake until golden brown, about 20–25 minutes.