One of the perks of working in hospitality for so many years was the abundance of time I spend working the pass (aka where the chefs plat the food). I can remember countless times hanging back at the pass to ask the chefs how they made every element on the plate – it was a great time! From this I have some true favourite dishes one of which is the perfectly simple empanada.
The YUM combination of fragrant meats or vegetables and buttery pastry is universally adored, plus they look amazing. I learnt the pastry crimping technique from Mauro Callegari, currently cooking up a storm at The Independent in Gembrook, and thank him kindly for the best part of this recipe..the dough.
500g chicken, ( I used the meat picked from soup bones but equally poached chicken thigh works really well)
1 red capsicum
2 bay leaves
1tbs dry oregano
1 tbs chilli flakes
9 eggs boil egg, cut into quarters
1 cup green marinated olives, halved and pitted
25g table salt
Start with the dough…
- Crumb the butter, flour and salt together until you have a sandy texture. Then knead in the water, knead for 5 min or so until the dough is elastic. Rest for 2 hours. When ready to fill roll the pastry out to roughly 3mm thickness and cut into 15cm discs. Make 18 for this recipe and then freeze the rest of the dough for later.
- For the filling saute onions, capsicum, bay leaf with a good splash of olive oil on low heat until caramelised. Add chilli, oregano, paprika and chicken and stir until fragrant. Add chopped tomatoes and fresh basil, then cook until half the water from the tomato has cooked down. Allow to cool for 10-15min.
- Put a spoonful of chicken, half an olive and a piece of egg in the middle of each round of dough. Fold over into a crescent moon shape and seal the edges by crimping the edges together.
- Lightly egg wash each empanada and bake (180 degrees) for 25in or until golden brown.
Serve with a chimichurri salsa or chipotle aioli.