These Puerto Rican empanadas are like an exotic take on the UK’s classic favourite, the pasty. Minced beef, assorted vegetables and of course, a hint of spicy chilli, are wrapped in a simple dough and deep fried into a parcel that’s perfect for lunches, picnics or a decadent afternoon snack. The dough is really versatile, so once you’ve mastered these you can try adapting the filling to suit your favourite flavours.
- For the dough:
- 450g plain flour
- 1⁄2tsp each baking powder and bicarbonate of soda
- 4tbsp peanut oil or vegetable oil
- Vegetable oil, for deep frying
- For the filling:
- 250g minced beef
- 1 small onion, peeled and diced
- 1⁄2 yellow or green pepper, deseeded and diced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2tbsp fresh chopped coriander
- 1⁄4 jalapeno chilli, finely chopped
- 12 stoned green olives
To make the filling, brown the beef in a hot frying pan. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the olives, and cook for 10 mins, stirring occasionally. Season well. Cool.
To make the dough, mix the dry ingredients and 1tsp salt in a large bowl, add the oil and about 250ml water. Mix in well with a knife, then knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Put in a polybag for 15 mins.
Divide the dough into 12 and stretch each piece into a 10cm round. Put a good tbsp of filling on one side, add an olive, then fold the dough over to make a half-moon shape. Press a fork round the edges to seal them. Heat the oil to 190°C. Deep-fry the pies for 5-6 mins, turning them. Drain on kitchen paper.
Top tip for making Puerto Rican empanadas
For sweet empanadas replace the savoury filling with your favourite chocolate and fruit and serve with ice cream.