You say empanadilla, I say empanada

There’s been a renaissance in cooking from scratch, home baking, and crafts – let’s call it the Martha Effect. It never went away for me, but I’ll take the early adopter tag. I was probably horribly out of fashion in the late 80s/early 90s with my home cooking and rag washed walls (mind you, my spiral perm was the height of fashion).

I’m pleased to say that I witnessed something else from my youth at New World (supermarket) yesterday – an assistant in the butchery department handing two littlies a slice of luncheon sausage. Woo hoo, just like the old days. It’s not about the luncheon (arrhhhhhh, makes my stomach turn), it’s the action of giving the kids something just because. Their eyes just sparkled as they rolled it up, gave it a munch and went skipping off after mum. I don’t know if it’s just that department at that particular supermarket that does it – but, long may it last and I hope my little guy gets to experience the joy of getting a slice one day.

It’s the simple things that get me every time.

And today’s recipe couldn’t be much simpler. A few posts ago I brought you individual spanakopita. Empanadilla, empanada, pastelito, pastie (or whatever you call them) are similar, take just a few ingredients and are a versatile little treat. Serve them up as part of a tapas meal, as a snack or for an easy lunch.

I’ve gone for chicken today, but you can use whatever meat you like and alter the seasonings accordingly.

What you’ll need

150g minced chicken or chicken breast (minced or very finely chopped)

(or you could use 120g minced pork plus 50g smoked ham)

1 red or brown onion

3 cloves garlic

3 Tbsp sherry (preferably dry) – although I used masala today as was out of sherry

1 Tbsp tomato paste

¼-½ tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you want it)


Freshly ground black pepper

3-4 sheets flaky/puff pastry, defrosted

Oil – olive or vegetable oil

1 egg

How to make them

20140927_152750Finely chop the onion and garlic. Heat a splash of oil in a fry pan and sweat the onion for a few minutes, taking care not to burn it. Add the meat and cook for another five or so minutes, stirring to brown. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes longer.

20140927_153556Add the sherry, tomato paste and cayenne. Mix and cook seven-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper towards the end of this time.

Remove from heat and set aside until cold (can store in fridge for later use). I take it out of the pan so it cools more quickly.

Turn oven to 200° Line an oven tray with baking paper.

20140927_163329Cut pastry into 9- 8cm rounds. Put about a tablespoon of cooled meat mixture into the middle of each round.

20140927_163554Wet the edges with water and join with your fingers, pressing firmly, making a crescent shape. Or, you can use a fork to secure the pastry together.

20140927_194715Lightly beat the egg with a fork and brush egg wash over the empanadilla . Make a small slit in the top of each empanadilla to let air escape during cooking.

20140925_212250Cook for about 15 minutes until risen and golden brown. Serve hot. This photo doesn’t show them at their best – I made them for a party in the weekend and they were snapped up before I had a chance to get a decent shot, evidence of how good they are!

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