Wednesday, 25 March 2009
I recently went for lunch to an Argentinian restaurant with my son. The restaurant is one of a chain called Gaucho and the particular branch has an amazing view of London's Tower Bridge.
Steak is clearly the mainstay of the menu at Gaucho and very excellent it is too. The waiter brings you a wooden board with all of the various cuts of steak on offer and then you choose your cut, the weight you want and how you would like it cooked - as simple as that. I usually just head straight into the main course when I go to Gaucho as the steaks are so huge. However, my son (whose middle name should be A la Carte) looked aghast when I suggested this route and so we settled on a selection of empanadas to set us on our way.
The empanadas were filled with cheese and ham, beef or corn. We had some of each and, in particular, the corn ones were unexpectedly delicious with lovely chewy pieces of corn in a rich sauce. They were served with a tomato sauce on the side.
The very next day on my way in to work I was reading the free London paper "The Metro" and I came across an article on Argentinian food which included, to my delight, the following recipe for the Gaucho Grill's empanadas (makes 10) :
450g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
50g vegetable shortening
pinch of salt
Rub the butter and shortening into the salt, flour and baking powder. Then sprinkle water in slowly and mix with your hands until the dough forms a ball. Rest for 30 mins and then roll out fairly thinly and cut out 10cm rounds.
50ml corn oil
50g diced shallots
1 chopped garlic clove
50g corn off the cob
100g tinned corn
100g mozzarella diced
50g cream cheese
50g diced red pepper
1/2 bunch of chopped chives
Salt and pepper
1 egg yolk for glazing.
Heat the oil in a pan and add the shallots and garlic. Sauté gently for 5 minutes then add the two kinds of corn and sauté for a further 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the two cheeses, peppers and chives to the pan, then mix well and season.
Place a dessert spoon of the filling in the centre of each pastry disc then wet the edges of the disc and fold it over to make a small pasty shape, pinching the edges closed. Brush the empanadas with the egg yolk and place on a non stick baking tray in an oven at 175 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until they are golden. Serve them hot with the sauce.
Peel and grate five plum tomatoes and mix with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
If anybody has any other favourite fillings that are good in these little golden parcels it would be great to hear from you.