Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Taste of Argentina: Empanadas Mendocinas & Chimichurri Sauce

I first heard about discos on Lydia's blog, The Perfect Pantry. The very next day (last week, as a matter of fact) I went to the Ranch Market in Redlands where I get my tortillas and tortilla chips, and found that they carried them. All you do is thaw them out, put a filling in the center, stretch them just a little while you fold them over, use an egg white wash to help seal the edges, and press the folded-over edges with the tines of a fork. Bake. Eat.

Oh, the possibilities! I have rhubarb and strawberries in the freezer - I'll roast them with a little sugar and make dessert turnovers. I have apples and raisins. I have blueberries and lemon curd. But first, I needed to make a main dish empanada, and I needed to make them with ingredients I had in the house. So, after a little exploration in blogland, I decided to make Empanadas Mendocinas, or Empanadas Mendoza. These were simple to make - took a little time because of the need to work each one, but well worth it.

Empanadas Mendocinas are traditionally Argentinian, and with the chimichurri sauce we had a nice sample of some flavors of Argentina.

Empanadas Mendocinas

1 package (10-count) Goya Discos
1/2 cup diced onion
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
3/4 lb. lean ground beef
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano flakes
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced (including green part)
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
5 green olives, halved
1 egg, divided (yolk in one bowl, white in another)

Preheat oven to 400˚. Sauté the onion in the oil over medium heat about 8 minutes or until tender. Add ground beef, smoked paprika, chile powder, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook and crumble meat until all is evenly browned. Cool slightly.

Place discos out on a large work surface 5 at a time (they dry quickly). Distribute meat filling evenly among each one, topping with some chopped hard-boiled egg and half of a green olive. Lightly whisk the egg white, and then brush the edges of the pastry. Pick up the pastry, stretching it lightly in each direction (you form sort of a bowl when you do this) and then fold it over. Press the edges together, and fold them over a second time to seal. Use a fork to crimp the edges. Lightly whisk the egg yolk, and brush the tops of each empanada. Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot or warm with chimichurri sauce (below).

I heard about chimichurri sauce a few years ago - it's often served over steak. This sauce makes barely enough for the 10 empanadas, so you may want to double it.

Chimichurri Sauce

1 small bunch fresh parsley, stems removed
4-5 fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano (I never have fresh!)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
salt and pepper

Blend all ingredients together in a blender until fine and it looks like the photo above.
Note: I tried this in my full-sized blender, but there wasn't enough of it to work down into the blades. It kept sticking to the sides. I transferred it to my little rocket blender, and it worked beautifully.


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Aren't discos the best? They're so easy to use; they've changed my cooking life! I like them with a goat cheese filling, and also with spicy ground turkey.

kitchen tables said...

The sauce looks nice and easy to make. I wonder if what other foods can this be used.

AveGisy said...

Cyndi, I'm so glad you like this recipe!, I got to say, for chimichurri sauce, we never put into a bender, and we use neutral oil such corn oil or sunflower oil,(well if it's your taste do it!!), add vinegar and oil until to obtain a sauce not to much liquid.
Chimichurri is typical in roast meat (you call it barbecue?), we use it over the meat just in the moment to eat it.
Kisses from Argentina