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Mr MWCED makes a mean pork empanada, however I had borrowed a cook book from the library and saw a chicken empanada recipe and decided that was worth trying.  The book was one of Annabel Langbein’s, love her style, and is virtually the same as her recipe though I have changed some of the measurements.

The other thing that intrigued me was that this recipe uses Kumara (sweet potato) instead of plain old potato.  Now that in itself is worth trying the recipe for,  though to be honest I don’t usually like Kumara but thought that as it is grated the taste will probably be muted.  And so it was.  A good trick to get fussy people (a la me) to mix up their vege intake.

I’ve called these ‘rustic’ because I didn’t take too much care and attention in ensuring that each pastry was nicely folded and crimped.  I was a bit short of time – we were just about to sit down and watch the ABs play Argentina – and who wants to miss any game time!    We found that 2 empanadas each was Plenty.  Making eight means that we have frozen half of them and they can be a meal another time.    And they definitely will be another meal – as they tasted great.

We ate a coleslaw with the empanadas.  It was a mix of green cabbage and some red cabbage leaves from the garden (though they were dark green), and a couple of ‘red’ spring onions which had sprung from the compost.  Oh, don’t you love the magic of compost when it nutures seeds and then throws up wonderful surprises!

Rustic Chicken Empanadas
Serves 4

500g Chicken mince
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
3 tbsp tomato pate
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp soft brown sugar
1 small green pepper, cored and diced
1 medium kumara, peeled and grated
¾ cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
handful of chopped fresh coriander
1 beaten egg, to glaze.

Yoghurt and Olive Oil Pastry
3 cups high-grade white flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
¾ cup olive oil
1 cup natural yoghurt

Pastry: combine flour and salt and add to bowl of food processor. Add oil and yoghurt to flour and mix until dough forms a ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured bench and knead 10 or 12 times until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in refrigerator for around 30 minutes. You don’t have to use this immediately, it will keep wrapped in the fridge for a week or can be frozen.

Chicken Filling: heat a large frypan and cook chicken in oil until no longer pink, breaking it up into a fine crumb with the ack of a spoon. Add grlic, tomato paste, cumin, chilli and sugar and cook for 2 minutes. Add green pepper, kumara, water, salt and pepper and cook on medium heat until kumara is soft, about 5 minutes. Mixture should not be sloppy, so cook for a bit longer if necessary.   At end of cooking add coriander.


Chicken mix before adding liquid

Preheat oven to 180C fanbake and line an oven tray with baking paper. Form pastry into a log and divide into 8 evenly sized pieces. Roll each piece out to a circle around 20cm diameter (about the size of a bread and butter plate). Place 2 tablespoons of mixture on one half of each circle, leaving a 1cm pastry rim.

Fold pastry in half to enclose filling and then roll in and crimp edges to seal firmly. Brush with egg wash and bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or cooled. Can be stored in fridge, cooked, for up to 4 days or freeze then thaw and reheat.


Coleslaw:  No measurements –  just chop finely some green and red cabbage (though as I said earlier my red cabbage leaves were green – go figure).  Add to cabbage a pinch of sugar and salt.  Mix this through cabbage – best with your hands.  Add chopped onion, red pepper and anything else you would like.  I would normally add some grated carrot but we were carrot-less. Throw in some chopped parsley too.  Then make a mayo.  Mine was a mix of cider vinegar (about 1 teaspoon), some sour cream, some mayonnaise and a big dollop of dijonnaise, followed by salt and pepper to taste.