So What Are These Empinadas Of Which You Speak, Obi Wan?

Sunday 1/5/2005

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Diary and Notes

I've recently been sharing correspondence (not in a Jane Austin way you understand) with a fellow food lover, Sara Parks, from Pittsburg. She originally suggested I spend a week cooking recipes she sends me, but as I've already done an American food week I decided to decline. She did however suggest I make some empinadas and sent me a recipe for some really tasty sounding Argentinian empinadas which she said were typical of Cordoba (I don't know if she's been on holiday there or something, but she seemed quite well informed). I told her I'd make some empinadas in the week and let her know how her recipe went.

But, you may be asking, what the bloody hell are empinadas?

And that was my question too.

It seems that in parts North America, with their Spanish/Latin influence, empinadas are all the rage. I checked the web and there are thousands of sites devoted to these tasty little treats. The empinada doesn't seem to have made it to this side of the Atlantic so I am happy to be one of the first Brits to shout about them and suggest everybody has a go.

An empinada is really a pasty - only the fillings are much better than some old scabby beef shin and lumps of swede and potato. The recipe Sara sent me included meat, olives, egg, raisins, carrot, tomatoes, red pepper and spices, which sounds a far sight better than a Devon Oggy.

So I decided to have a go at some empinadas, only when I got home from the stag do in Malmesbury, all the shops were shut and I couldn't get any meat. I decided, as ever, to improvise.

So today's dinner was a bit of an invention, inspired by somebody who introduced me to the concept of a south American style pasty. I checked the freezer, found I had some frozen prawns and made some prawn empinadas, filled with a Mexican/Cajun style stuffing. I also had to adapt the recipe for the dough as I didn't have any lard or vegetable shortening - I used butter and vegetable oil instead.

These were really quite good. I didn't have any fresh vegetables, but cooked some potato wedges - and seeing as I thought it would go, had some ketchup, mayonnaise and American mustard as well.

I'll have a go at the proper empinada recipe later in the week (or next week probably, as I shall be away on my travels again soon and might not get the chance). Until then, at least I am no longer an empinada virgin - is there anything else I haven't heard of that's worth cooking. If anyone knows of something weird or unusual let me know - I'll eat most anything.

Cake Blog

Cherry Cake: Looks a bit like the cherry and walnut cake from yesterday but you'll notice there are no walnuts.


  • Prawn Empinadas
  • Potato Wedges


    Prawn Empinadas (Filling)
    150g Frozen Prawns
    1 tsp Olive Oil
    1/2 Onion
    1/2 Red Pepper
    3 Green Chillis
    1/2 Can Tomatoes
    1 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup
    1/2 tsp Oregano
    1/2 tsp Thyme
    1/4 tsp Celery Salt
    1/4 tsp Cumin
    Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
    Salt and Pepper
    Prawn Empinadas (Dough)
    100g Flour
    25g Butter
    2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
    1/2 tsp Baking Powder
    Pinch Salt
    2 Tbsp Warm Water
    Spicy Potato Wedges
    3 Large Potatoes
    1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
    1 tsp Paprika
    1/2 tsp Oregano
    1/2 tsp Celery Salt
    1/4 tsp Cumin
    1/4 tsp Black Pepper
    1/4 tsp Chilli Powder


  • Filling: Dice the onion and fry in a little olive oil. Add the finely diced red pepper, the chopped chillis and all the spices/herbs (except the parsley). Fry gently until the onions are really soft. Stir in the prawns and the tomatoes (chopped), ketchup and a little water and simmer gently until it thickens. Add loads of chopped parsley and leave to cool.
  • Dough: Mix the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the butter and oil and knead well. If it's too dry drip in a little warm water. Keep kneading until the dough is springy then roll out really thin.
  • Make pasties with the dough and filling and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Potatoes: Peel and cut into wedges. Drizzle with oil and bake (180c) for 45 minutes. After 45 mins drain the oil off and sprinkle with the spice mix. Give them a good shake to coat evenly then continue baking until really crispy.


    *All quantities are very approximate and for a single person