Tuesday, October 12, 2010


On September 16th, Isabel attends a reception in her honor. Former President Michele Bachelet hosts, and everyone congratulates Isabel for her National Literary Award. At the party, Isabel enjoys—surprise—a little more red wine and empanadas!  

Isabel’s former husband, Michael, is there. He is always invited to these events and he always attends.  “His support warms my heart,” Isabel tells me. “He should hate me.  I was a horrible wife.” Michael is another hottie! Great eyebrows amongst the Chileans, I have noticed....
Here is a recipe for empanadas that Isabel once made for me:
Dough for empanadas – makes about 25 
3 cups flour
1 egg yolk
½ cup of grasa – lard or butter or mix of both
¾ cup to 1 cup of warm milk
½ tsp salt

Mix the flour and salt in a food processor; pulse until well combined.
Add the lard or butter, blend well.
Add the egg yolk and the milk in small amounts, pulse until small dough clumps start to form.
Make a couple of balls, flatten into disks and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough onto a thin sheet and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas (use round molds or a small plate).

Beef  filling
1 lb ground beef
2 white onions, diced, about 3 cups
1/2 cup lard or butter
2 tbs smoked paprika
2 tbs chili powder or any ground hot pepper
1 tbs finely chopped fresh oregano
½ tbs ground cumin
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
¼ cup sliced green olives
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, white and yolk separated and lightly whisked

Combine the ground beef, paprika, red pepper, cumin, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix all the ingredients together and chill until ready to use.
Melt the lard in a large frying pan or sauté pan, add the onions and salt, and cook until the onions are soft, about 8 minutes.
Add the meat mixture to the onions and cook on medium heat until the meat is done. Stir frequently.
Let the meat mixture, or picadillo, cool down, and then mix in the chopped green onions and chopped oregano.
To assemble the empanadas, add a spoonful of the meat mixture to the center of each empanada disc and add a slice of egg and sliced olive.
Brush the edges of the empanada discs with the egg whites. You can also use water but the egg white is a good natural “glue” that helps seal the empanada.
Fold the empanada discs and seal the edges gently with your fingers; twist and fold the edges of the empanadas with your fingers. As a final step, use a fork to press down and finish sealing the empanadas.
Lightly brush the top of the empanadas with the egg yolk; this will give them a nice golden glow when they bake.
Let the empanadas rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes or until ready to bake.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 F and bake for about 25 minutes.

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