LIFESTYLE

Argentinian Food Recipes: How To Make The Perfect Empanada

13/06/2014 15:58 BST | Updated 13/06/2014 15:59 BST

You don't have to go on a holiday or trawl the streets for empanada carts to sample authentic Argentinian food.

A new cookery book by Enrique Zanoni and Gatson Stivelmaher, titled Argentinian Street Food, combines tradition with innovation to help you create street-worthy feats in your own kitchen.

Why not try out a few of the recipes from the book this weekend? They're perfect for taking outside if you want to enjoy the sun or for munching in front of the TV if you're tuning in to the football.

Dough

dough 1

There are two types of dough, depending on whether the empanada is baked or fried.

Makes 20 rounds of dough, 14 Cm (51⁄2 inches) across

30 minutes preparation time and 2 hours resting time

Classic dough (for baking)

325g unsalted butter

1 kg plain flour

25g butter

salt

160ml sunflower oil

  • Cut 325 g (111⁄2 oz) of unsalted butter into small cubes. Sift

  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz/62⁄3 cups) of plain (all-purpose) flour into a large bowl. Add 25 g (1 oz) of salt and the cubes of butter.

  • Rub the butter into the flour and salt with your hands until you have a sandy texture with no lumps.

  • Add 350 ml (12 fl oz) of water and combine with the flour mixture using your hands. Add a little more water if necessary. Knead the dough on a lightly floured work surface for 10–15 minutes.

  • Form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Puffed Dough (for frying)

1kg flour

salt

160 ml sunflower oil

  • Combine 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz/62⁄3 cups) of plain (all-purpose) flour with 25 g (1 oz) of salt in a bowl.

  • Add 160 ml (51/4 fl oz) of sunflower oil and 350 ml (12 fl oz) of water, then mix with a wooden spoon.

  • Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10–15 minutes until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Lemon Tuna

tuna

Makes 20 empanadas

Preparation time: 30 mins

Cooking time: 2hrs

Dough

1 quantity of classic dough

Filling

3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped

finely grated zest and juice of 3 lemons

1 handful flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped

1 large onion, cut into matchsticks

1 green capsicum (pepper), cut into matchsticks

olive oil

1 fresh small green

chilli, finely diced

3 tablespoons tomato paste (concentrated purée)

200 ml (7 fl oz) fish stock or water

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) tinned tuna, drained weight

salt, black pepper

glaze

3 egg yolks, beaten

To make the filling:

  • Combine the capers, lemon zest and juice and the parsley in a bowl and set aside in the refrigerator
.

  • Sauté the onion and capsicum in a saucepan with a little oil over medium heat without browning. Add the chilli and cook for 10 minutes over low heat. Add the tomato paste and stir well. Add the stock and cook over low heat for 15–20 minutes, or until the liquid has completely evaporated.

  • Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and combine with the tuna and the caper, lemon and parsley mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Assembly:

  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/Gas 5). Sprinkle a little flour on the work surface.

  • Roll out the dough to a thickness of 3 mm (1⁄8 inch), and cut out circles with a 14 cm
  • (51⁄2 inch) cutter.

  • Using a 60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) ice-cream scoop or measuring cup, form a portion of filling and place one on each round of dough.

  • Lightly moisten the edge of the dough with a little water and fold over into a half-moon shape. Seal the edges and decorate them with an edging of your choice (see page 26). Set aside in the refrigerator if not cooking immediately.

Cooking:

  • Arrange the empanadas on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

  • Brush with egg yolk and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Mini Alfajores

alfajores

Makes 20

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Resting time: 1 hour

Cooking time: 12–15 minutes

Dough

300 g (101⁄2 oz/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour

seeds from 1 vanilla bean

1 pinch of fine sea salt

220 ml (71⁄2 fl oz) thin (pouring) cream (35% dairy fat)

1 tablespoon cognac

Filling

200 g (7 oz) dulce de leche

icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting

To make the dough:

  • Combine the flour, vanilla seeds, sea salt, cream and cognac in a bowl and work together until you have a smooth ball of dough. Add a little extra flour or cream if necessary.

  • Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and rest it in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Rolling:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas 4). sprinkle a little flour on the work surface. roll out the dough to a thickness of 3 mm (1⁄8 inch).

  • Cut out 40 circles with a 4 cm (11⁄2 inch) cutter.

Cooking:

  • Arrange the rounds of dough on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 12–15 minutes, or until golden. allow to cool at room temperature on the tray.

Assembly:

  • Spread half the cooled biscuits with the dulce de leche using a piping (icing) bag or a spoon.

  • Place the remaining biscuits on top. Press together firmly: the dulce de leche should bulge out the sides a little.

  • Dust each alfajor with icing sugar.

Spinach And Cheese Empanadas

spinach and cheese

Makes 20

Preparation time: 30 MINUTES

Cooking time: 40 MINUTES

Dough

1 quantity of classic dough

Béchamel

70 g (21⁄2 oz) unsalted butter 70 g (21⁄2 oz) plain

(all-purpose) flour 700 ml (24 fl oz) milk salt, black pepper

1 pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Filling

700 g (1 lb 9 oz) baby spinach

olive oil

salt, black pepper

200 g (7 oz) mozzarella

or feta cheese, diced

100 g (31⁄2 oz) parmesan or Grana Padano cheese, grated

glaze

3 egg yolks, beaten

To make the béchamel:

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.

  • Stir in the flour and mix with a wooden spoon.

  • Cook, stirring, for 4 minutes, then add the milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.

  • Continue cooking for 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Allow to cool.

To make the filling:

  • Cook the spinach in a hot frying pan with a little oil until wilted. Drain thoroughly in a colander and roughly chop. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.

  • Combine the mozzarella, parmesan and spinach. Add the cold béchamel sauce and adjust the seasoning.

Assembly:

  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/Gas 5). Sprinkle a little flour on the work surface.

  • Roll out the dough to a thickness of 3 mm (1⁄8 inch), and cut out circles with a 14 cm (51⁄2 inch) cutter.

  • Using a 60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) ice-cream scoop or measuring cup, form small balls of filling and place one on each round of dough.

  • Lightly moisten the edge of the dough with a little water and fold over into a half-moon shape. Seal the edges and decorate them with an edging of your choice (see page 26). Set aside in the refrigerator if not cooking immediately.

Cooking:

  • Arrange the empanadas on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush with egg yolk and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Traditional Dulce de Leche

de leche

Makes about 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz)

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 2.5–3 hours

3 litres (105 fl oz/12 cups) milk

750 g (1 lb 10 oz) caster (superfine) sugar

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

  • In a 5 litre (175 fl oz/20 cups) cast-iron casserole or saucepan, bring the milk to a boil with the sugar and scraped vanilla bean and seeds, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

  • Add the bicarbonate of soda and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking for 21⁄2–3 hours, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time. it will darken and thicken.

The cold plate test:

To check whether the dulce de leche is ready, put a spoonful on a cold plate and tilt it. if the mixture holds its shape, remove it from the heat; if it runs a little, cook until it reaches this stage.

Storage:

Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Argentinian Street Food by Enrique Zanoni and Gaston Stivelmaher (Murdoch Books £14.99) is out on the 3rd July 2014.