As mentioned in my last post, I spent a recent afternoon cooking up a Mexican feast with friends.
In addition to drop-dead delicious jalapeño poppers we feasted on these wonderful beef empanadas, courtesy of a new cookbook – ‘My Abuela’s Table’ by Daniella Germain.
In this book, Daniella shares the recipes handed from her Mexican grandmother – her abuela – as well delving in to the basics of authentic Mexican cuisine, such as spices and chilli varieties.
But the most stand-out feature of the book are the whimsical illustrations adorning every page, many of which won’t fail to elicit a smile (like cute little chickens recommending favourite recipes)!
Although I’m normally one of those people for whom photos are a necessary ingredient in recipe books, I went straight out to buy my own copy after leafing through Nicole’s.
It’s such a beautiful, all-encompassing piece of creativity – go check it out…
based on the recipe from ‘my abuela’s table’ by daniella germain
1 large onion, finely chopped 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 chorizo, skin removed and finely diced 500g shin beef, trimmed and cubed 3 bay leaves 400g tin diced tomatoes ⅓ cup pine nuts ½ tsp coriander seeds 1 tsp cumin ½ tsp turmeric 2 cups beef stock 1 tsp white wine vinegar black pepper olive oil
for the pastry 5 sheets shortcrust pastry milk (for sealing the pastry) 1 egg 2 tbsp water
Preheat your oven to 180°C and line two large baking trays with baking paper.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, fry onion and garlic in a little olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the chorizo and fry for another few minutes until the fat from the sausage has rendered and the chorizo is browned (but not crispy).
Add the beef cubes and fry for a further five minutes until browned, before adding all the remaining filling ingredients and combining gently but thoroughly.
Cover the pan and simmer gently for one and a half hours, stirring occasionally to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. After this time, uncover and simmer for a further hour until the sauce is thick and almost dry. The meat should be completely tender and falling apart easily, so you may need to add extra water during the cooking process if it needs longer.
Once the sauce is reduced and very thick, remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely (this is important, as hot filling will ruin your pastry before it’s even hit the oven).
When you’re ready to assemble your empanadas, clear a nice big space on your bench top (kitchen tables also work well). Pour some milk into a small bowl and set down within easy reaching distance.
Cut 15cm (6 inch) circles from the pastry sheets and place two heaped tablespoons of beef sauce in the centre of each.
Carefully fold into a half moon shape and seal the edges with a dab or two of milk. Use your fingers or a fork to create fancy folded or crimped edge.
Beat the egg together with the water and brush over the tops of the prepared empanadas, and then bake for 15 minutes until golden and crispy.
photographer & stylist