Recipe: Tuna empanadas

02:25, Apr 04 2014
empanada
PASTRY DELIGHT: Here, pastry houses a flavour explosion. Could things get any better?

Empanadas are Spanish and Latin American pastries stuffed with meat, fish or vegetables, and baked or fried until crisp and golden.

They are common in Portugal, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and Chile. Their name comes from the Spanish verb ''empanar'', to wrap in bread. Empanadas are the rightful new stars of our tapas bars and Latin-American diners.

Argentinian Street Food (Murdoch Books, $29.99), a cookbook devoted to empanadas and helados (ice-cream) is out this week. Its authors, Enrique Zanoni and Gaston Stivelmaher, of the Clasico Argentino restaurant chain in Paris, call empanadas ''synonymous with improvisation, celebration, friends and family''.

Why do I care?

Because they are great with a beer, for brunch, for parties and to take on picnics.

Can I do them at home?

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Make or buy the pastry, cook the filling, fold and seal, then bake in the oven or deep-fry.

Recipe: Tuna, green olive and egg empanadas

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green capsicum, chopped
1 green chilli, sliced
200g canned chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp smoked paprika
sea salt
cracked pepper
225g tuna in oil, drained
8 green olives, roughly chopped
2 hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 sheets shortcrust pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten

1. Heat the olive oil and cook the onion, capsicum and chilli for 10 minutes until softened.

2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika, sea salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes or until thick and sludgy.

3. Fold in the tuna, olives, hard-boiled eggs, parsley and lemon juice and leave to cool.

4. Heat the oven to 200C. Place the pastry on a work bench and cut into 10cm (small) or 13cm (medium) circles. Place one tablespoon of filling on each one, brush the edges with water, and bring them together to seal. Crimp them with the tines of a fork, brush the tops with beaten egg and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden. Eat warm.

4. Heat the oven to 200C. Place the pastry on a work bench and cut into 10cm (small) or 13cm (medium) circles. Place one tablespoon of filling on each one, brush the edges with water, and bring them together to seal. Crimp them with the tines of a fork, brush the tops with beaten egg and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden. Eat warm.

Makes 8 to 10