Monday, January 30, 2012

Empanadas de Atún (Argentinian Tuna Empanadas)

This was a tag-team cooking effort tonight. Riley started the process, making the filling and the dough, but as the dough rested, Jake started watching a documentary that must have been more captivating than cooking with me. So, Dylan stepped in and finished the process. And as he proudly carried his creations to the table, Riley declared, excitedly, "Dylan, you made Hot Pockets."

Dylan was indigant, "These are NOT Hot Pockets, Riley, they are empanadas from Argentina."

You tell him, Sweetheart! These are not Hot Pockets; they are fresh and homemade, filled with recognizeable ingredients.
  • 3 C all-purpose flour (normally I would use a white whole wheat flour, but Riley pleaded for "flour that normal people use...for once, please!" Fine.)
  • 1 T baking powder
  • pink Himalaya salt
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 3/4 C milk
  • 1/4 C water
Stir all of the ingredients together to form a kneadable mass. Remove it to a floured work surface and knead until silky smooth, approximately 5 minutes. Add a little flour if it is too sticky. Cover it with a towel and let it rest at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, make the filling. Though ground beef is de rigueur for these Argentinian empanadas, I searched high and low until I found a few variations that used fish because I had lots of fresh yellowfin tuna from a friend.

I roasted two filets in the oven, sprinkled with pink Himalaya salt and flower pepper and drizzled with fresh squeezed lemon juice and olive oil. Then I flaked the fish and set aside.

In a large flat-bottomed pan, sauté sliced leeks and sliced black olives in a splash of olive oil until the leeks are translucent. Season with paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add the flaked fish and stir till coated with oil and seasonings. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the rested dough into 8 equal portions; you can certainly make smallers one. BUt. Lightly flour a work surface and roll each portion out into a 6- to 8-inch round.

Add about 1/4 cup of filling to the center of the pastry round, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Wet the edges with a finger dipped in water, fold over into a half moon and seal the edges with the tines of a fork or by rolling them up into a scalloped edge. Lay out on a baking sheet.

Brush tops with an egg beaten with a little water if you like. Bake for 30-40 minutes until browned on top. Serve warm.


We served these with our version of a chimichurri sauce. Minced garlic, minced parsley, minced cilantro, minced mint, minced oregano, sea salt, black pepper, olive oil, and fresh lemon juice.

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