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Monday 12 September 2011

Sluttishly Savoury: Empanadillas

The woman next to me on the train last week caught my attention by texting a man saved simply in her phone as 'nice buns'*. Here, I thought, was my kind of woman. So I had a gawp at the recipe book she was reading (people who read recipe books for fun will always have my heart) and spotted one for empanadillas.

I had no idea what they were, but how adorable is that word? I rushed home to look them up and discovered they are baby empanadas, a stuffed pastry found in Spain and south America. Think of them like Mediterranean pasties or samosas. I've made vegetarian ones but you could switch the beans for beef mince, chorizo, pork, or even fish. It's a versatile, easy, satisfying dish that you can eat hot or cold, for dinner, at a party or in a lunch box.

*I wasn't spying, honest. Have you been on a rush-hour train? I could identify some regular commuters by smell alone.

Empanadillas (makes about 12)

You will need:

  • 450g plain flour
  • 120g olive oil
  • Pinch salt
  • 150ml chilled water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • Tin of tomatoes
  • Tin of black beans
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 100ml red wine
  • Small cup of milk to seal the pastries
Make it!
  1. For the pastry, put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it starts to come together into a soft dough. Alternatively, mix the flour, oil and salt in a bowl with a fork, then gradually add the water.
  2. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until it forms a smooth ball. Wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for an hour.
  3. Secret bonus step: skip (1) and (2) and buy some ready-made pastry. There's no shame in it.
  4. While it's chilling, get cracking on the filling. Heat the oil over a medium-heat in a saucepan and fry the garlic, onion and peppers for about 5 minutes, until they start to soften. Tip in the tomatoes, beans, cumin, paprika and wine. Season and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes until it thickens up. Set aside and leave to cool.
  5. Get ready to make the empanadas by preheating the oven to 180C/350F, and setting out the pastry, cooled filling, cup of milk and a fork.
  6. Roll the pastry out thinly. Cut around a saucer to make a neat circle and add a tablespoon of filling to one side. Brush the edges with milk, fold over and crimp the edges with the fork. Repeat with the remaining pastry.
  7. Pop the empanadillas on a greased baking tray and cook for 10 minutes or until golden-brown.
Invite 'nice buns' over to share them with a salsa dip and glass of Rioja.


  1. They're absolutely one of my favourite things.

  2. Oh my gosh they sound amazing! No calories though right? :P

  3. Clearly there needs to be a new calorie-counting rule: recipes found on Domestic Sluttery are calorie-free (just like broken biscuits, stolen chips...)

  4. They're not TERRIBLE, calorie-wise - they're baked, not deep-fried, at least!

  5. Let's deep fry them! That would taste amazing.


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