Today let us indulge ourselves in the pleasure of discovering the culinary delights of Latin America, a continent full of intense and inviting flavours, with a particular focus on countries such as Argentina and Peru where delicious local meat dishes abound. Here we introduce ‘empanadas’, a kind of turnover made from bread or pastry and filled with meat and other ingredients such as onions, hard-boiled eggs and spices, At first glance they look rather similar to the world famous kebab or Greek ‘gyros’. It is thought that this lovely dish was brought to Latin America by the Spaniards, who had in turn learned about them from the Arabs who, in the Middle Ages, had conquered the Iberian Peninsula. These Latin American turnovers were a party food in previous times; today they can be found in every restaurant as well as being made at home.
This recipe has many variations, and the following gives you the basic version. Chop the onion and brown it in a pan with a little oil. Add the ground beef and a splash of white wine and cook till 80 per cent done and then turn off the heat. Salt well and season with cumin and paprika to taste. Roll out the puff pastry (or use a bought, ready-made version) and cut out 5 circles of about 10cm in diameter. With a spoon, divide the ground meat between the 5 pastry circles and then with great care fold them over and seal them in the shape of a crescent. Bake at 180°C for 30 minutes and eat them hot!