3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 brown onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
350g minced lamb
1 tsp toasted ground cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp chilli powder (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups tomato passata
½ cup chopped coriander leaves
½ cup chopped chives
½ cup chopped continental parsley
3 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
600g plain flour
a pinch salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1kg yoghurt pastry
2 egg yolks lightly beaten with 4 tbsp milk
Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion, garlic and sweat gently until soft and translucent. Add the minced lamb, salt and pepper and the spices and stir well to combine. Add the tomato passata and herbs and stir well. Simmer over a medium heat until the lamb is cooked and the sauce is lovely and thick. Tip into a dish and leave to cool completely in the fridge. When completely cold, fold through the chopped egg.
This soft tender pastry is virtually foolproof and can be made with yoghurt or sour cream. Either way, it cooks to a lovely crisp and light crust, and makes a great base for pizzas.
Any off cuts can be rolled together and refrigerated or frozen for future use.
Sift the flour and salt onto a work surface. Make a well in the flour and pour in the beaten egg. Use your fingers to gradually work in the flour. Add the yoghurt and mix with your hands until it’s all incorporated. Knead gently to form a smooth, very soft pastry.
Divide the pastry into 2 portions, wrap them both in plastic wrap and let sit for at least 30 minutes. When ready to use, roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface.
The pastry will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When ready to make the empanadas, preheat the oven to 190°C and lightly oil a baking tray.
Roll the pastry dough into a sausage shape, then cut into 60g portions (you should get 20-30). Roll each piece of dough out on a lightly floured work surface to a 10 cm circle. Lift the pastry circles onto the prepared baking tin and place a generous spoonful in the centre of each. Brush the edge of each circle with a little egg wash and fold over to enclose the filling in a little half moon shape. Press with a fork to seal, then brush with egg wash again.
Bake for 20 minutes, until the empanadas are crisp and golden.
Makes 20 – 30.