It’s so very lovely when we sit down to dinner as a family and all 6 people at the table smile at the plate placed in front of them … and that’s what happens each time with this meal in our house!
I’m certain that they aren’t a traditional version of an empanada, but these are filling and tasty, easy for little fingers to hold, they hide a lot of veggies (in fact, it is super easy to make them a vegan dinner) and are even transportable for picnics and lunchboxes.
I adapt the recipe that I use to make bread to make the dough.
To make the dough:
- 500g flour**
- 25g olive oil
- 320ml luke warm water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1.5 tsp yeast
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 tsp pink salt
** I like to use a mix of half wholemeal spelt and half white spelt OR half Khorasan flour.
Place water, yeast and sugar in your processor and allow to stand for 5 minutes.
Add the oil, flour and salt then process to bring together to a dough (Speed 6 for about 10 seconds).
Tip the dough out and knead gently until smooth *or of course you can use the kneading function on your machine* Using your hands, smooth the surface with some olive oil and place in a clean bowl, covered with a tea towel in a warm place for about 45 minutes to an hour to double in size.
To make the filling I adapt my standard Bolognese recipe.
- 500g beef mince
- 1 finely chopped brown onion
- 2 tbspn garlic olive oil
- 1-2 tsp minced chillies
- 2 large carrots
- 1 large zucchini
- 1 tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tin lentils, drained and rinsed
- 12 button mushrooms
- fist sized piece of sweet potato or pumpkin
- 2 large handfuls spinach
- 1 large tin crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 cup red wine
- fresh basil
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then add the onion and stir until soft.
Add the mince and break it into small pieces as it browns, add the tomatoes, paste, red wine and stock. Mix well and turn down to low heat. Add in the lentils.
Meanwhile, in the food processor blitz or grate the vegetables, spinach, beans and mushrooms. Process more or less depending on how smooth you want your sauce.
Add the veggie mix to the meat mix in the pan and stir well. Bring to a very gentle simmer for about half an hour, stirring regularly.
Remove the dough from the bowl and break into gold ball size pieces. Roll out to about a 3-4mm thickness (baking paper or some extra dusting flour is helpful here).
Place a spoonfull of the filling on one side of the dough, then fold over and crip edges closed with a fork.
Place on a lined baking tray and into a preheated 200C oven for about 12-15 minutes or until golden.
Serve on their own or with extra veggies.
To make a vegan filling I use my mushroom and lentil Bolognese recipe.
The dough makes enough for 12-14 pieces. This is enough for our family for dinner and occasionally a lunch leftover – though that is changing as the boys grow!! However, the filling makes twice this amount, so I freeze half of the mix for a quicker meal next time.
P.S sometimes when we need ‘footy food’ we make these into hot pockets and we add in a little grated cheese to each one before folding and cooking.