promised I’d be inspired from our recent adventures in Mexico. The food and country stole our hearts and we are incredibly lucky to have had such an amazing immersive honeymoon. Whilst I’ve only managed to find one good Mezcal bar in London (Hacha, Brixton/Dalston), I have been creating smoothie bowls, tacos and now, empanadas in the kitchen.
I think empandas are pretty forgiving and adaptable (don’t tell the Mexicans?). Being a very loose cousin to the Cornish pasty in my view, as long as the pastry is fresh and flaky and the filling tasty and moist – you can’t go wrong. We didn’t eat too many of these in Mexico to know the ‘traditional’ size but I like that you can make these larger or smaller to fit into your menu. Here I opted for the slightly larger than canapé size as part of a Mexican tasting menu.
Makes about 15 (depending on their size)
- 500g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 150g cold butter, cubed
- 1 egg, beaten
- 4-5 chicken thighs, skin off, deboned
- 2 large shallots, chopped finely
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp each ground cumin, coriander, smoked paprika
- 1 tsp crushed chilli flakes (or as hot as you like)
- 1 can black beans, drained
- 1 can tinned tomatoes
- Handful coriander, chopped
You can use shortcrust pasty or puff if you don’t want to make it yourself. I used a tea saucer size to cut out the pastry circles for size.
- Preheat the oven to 180℃ and get yourself a large casserole dish.
- Heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat in your dish and add the shallots. Gently cook for about 8 minutes until soft and translucent making sure they don’t catch. Season well, add the garlic and cook for a further few minutes to soften.
- Add the chicken thighs and turn up the heat to brown them slightly on the outside (don’t worry too much, it’ll all go in the oven shortly!)
- Add the ground spices and mix everything well to coat for a few minutes.
- Add in the tinned tomatoes and mix well. Add half a can of water from the kettle if its looking a bit thick, basically enough to submerge the chicken but not too watery!
- Add the black beans and mix well.
- Cook in the oven for 45 minutes, lid on. Remove the lid and cook for a further 15 minutes or so. By this time the mixture should have reduced nicely and the chicken tender.
- Remove the dish from the oven and leave to cool slightly.
- Before it gets cold, take two forks and shred the chicken into bitesize pieces and mix everything to combine before leaving to cool completely before stirring in the chopped coriander.
- To make the pastry, mix the cold cubed butter and flour and baking powder in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs. Season. (You can rub this in by hand but make sure the butter is cold).
- Add in a few tbsp of cold water bit by bit with the processor running until the dough just starts to come together in a ball.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and combine into a nice soft ball. Wrap in cling film and refredigate for 1 hour.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge and leave to warm up for about 15 minutes. Cut into quarters to make it easier to handle. Roll each quarter out on a floured work surface to the ticket of a coin. Use a cutter or an upturned saucer to cut out circles of pastry. Size is totally up to you – you can go large pasty style or small canapé size.
- Spoon a small amount of mixture into the centre of the pastry – the amount will depend on the size but be cautious and don’t overfill, its easily done.
- Brush beaten egg around the outside of the whole pastry disc.
- Turn over the pastry to make a half moon and seal the edges with a fork by pressing the pastry edges together.
- Brush the empanada with egg and bake at 200℃ for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.