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Mini Beef Empanadas

Not strictly authentic with filo pastry I agree, but it was impossible to roll the traditional dough thin enough for a canapé size empanada – and just think how much healthier this version is without any fat in the pastry. The caipirinha is optional, but delicious. You can then almost imagine you are under the blue skies of South America...

Ingredients - makes 25

125g beef mince 1/2 small onion, chopped 1/2 red pepper, chopped 1 tsp ground cumin 1/2 tsp oregano 1/4 tsp chilli powder 1 tsp sugar 30g raisins 30g green olives, roughly chopped Beef stock Flavourless oil or melted butter Fresh filo sheets


Brown the mince. Push to the side of the pan and add the onion and red pepper. Cook till soft. Stir in the cumin, oregano, chilli powder and sugar.

Continue cooking until the mince is tender, about 30 minutes or so. Add some stock if the meat starts to get dry.

Finally add the raisins and olives and cook for 5 minutes longer.

Cool and refrigerate until you are ready to finish the dish. Allowing the mince to be very cold makes it easier to roll up in the filo.

Cut each filo sheet into strips, approximately 6cms wide. (I cut 5 from each sheet). Also cut small squares (6cms x 6cms) to reinforce the filo parcels. Keep the filo covered with either a damp tea towel or cling film when not working with it. Filo dries out very quickly.

Brush each strip with oil or melted butter, place the extra square at the bottom of the strips. Put a teaspoonful of the beef on the square and start to fold up making triangles all the time to the top and enclosing the filling. Brush with more melted butter and place on baking sheet until ready to cook or freeze.

Cook for 10 minutes at 170c fan or 190c until golden brown and piping hot or cook from frozen for a few minutes longer. Dust with a little more chilli powder to serve.


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