Still here, still cooking. The oldest of my boys was back to school this week, so settling into routine again has been my distraction. Therefore this post is regarding last week’s cuisine, Argentinian. This week’s will be up shortly.
My heart (and belly) have a soft spot for South American cuisine. The fusion of Native-American, African, and European assists in creating dishes that are warming, earthy, spicy, and delicious. Argentina’s cuisine seems to be mostly influenced by the Mediterranean (think Spanish and Italian). Did you know that Argentina is also the 2nd largest consumer of beef per capita in the world? A whopping 120.2kg in 2016 as opposed to our measly 65kg in Australia!
Last week I made Empanadas Mendocinas (Baked Argentinian Spiced Beef Empanadas). Empanadas can be found all over South America and beyond, with this version originating from Mendoza, Argentina. I paired it with a green Chimichurri sauce, which also originates from Argentina. Both dishes came from this enticing cookbook…
Empanadas Mendocinas (Baked Argentinian Spiced Beef Empanadas)
- 60g butter
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp smoked hot paprika
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 60ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
- 400g beef sirloin, trimmed and finely diced (I just used some beef rump and it was fine)
- 2 large boiled eggs, peeled and roughly chopped
- 90g pitted green olives, roughly chopped
- 3 shallots (spring onions, green part only), sliced
- 2 tblsp finely chopped oregano leaves
- 5 sheets of shortcrust pastry (I bought frozen squares and made approximately 20- 4 per sheet)
Melt the butter in a large frypan over low-medium heat. Cook the onion & garlic until soft, then add the cumin, paprika and chilli flakes and stir until fragrant. Set aside in a bowl and return the pan back to the stove on high heat. Add the olive oil and cook the beef in batches until browned all over. Remove from heat and combine with the onion mixture. Cool for about 10 mins. Add the eggs, olives, shallots, oregano. Combine and season to taste with sea salt & freshly ground black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 30 mins.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and grease and line two baking trays with baking paper. Use a 10-12cm round pastry cutter to make approximately 20-30 round circles in your pastry. Place approximately 1 tablespoon of the mixture in the centre of each circle.
Lightly moisten the pastry edges with water (be careful to not over moisten or it will get slippery and difficult to work with), and fold in half to enclose the filling and form half-moon shapes. Pinch along the edges to seal. Arrange on prepared baking trays, and brush the tops with lightly beaten egg. Cook for 15-20 mins, or until golden brown. Serve with chimichurri (recipe below).
Chimichurri (Argentinian Green Sauce)
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
- 3 large handfuls flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 small handful oregano leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tblsp lemon juice
- 80ml extra-virgin olive oil
Put the garlic, salt, chilli flakes, paprika and pepper into a bowl and stir to combine. Add the onion, parsley, oregano, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil and stir. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Sauce can be stored for up to 5 days). Makes 1 cup.