Carrying on with our World Cup theme, I thought it was time to celebrate another of the competition’s unexpected delights, through the medium of a culinary delight!
Costa Rica weren’t expected to qualify from their (apparently) tough group, but actually won it, with the poor late lamented England the only team to take a point from them. They beat Greece after penalties, and now find themselves in the quarter finals!
These Costa Rican Empanadas are the perfect snack to nibble on during Saturday’s match against the Netherlands (who I’ve been backing to win the whole thing). Whether they’ll be drying their eyes and saying goodbye, or dancing in the streets of San José, celebrating their first Semi-final, these will see you (if not them) through!
230g plain flour
115ml vegetable oil
115g mozzarella cheese (grated)
1/2tsp worcestershire sauce
115g chorizo, thickly sliced and then quartered
1 onion, chopped
1 small tin refried beans
1 tsp salt
This makes 10-12 smallish empanadas, 2-3 of which is a a good-size snack on their own. Alternatively, top with salsa and serve with tortilla chips or a crisp side-salad.
1. First of all, let’s sort out the dough. Combine the two types of flour with half of the salt.
2. Slowly add water, a little at a time, bringing it all together until the dough is smooth, and of a sticky consistency. It should have a nice sheen to it.
3. Flatten a small ball of the dough between your hands – if it cracks at the edges, it’s too dry. Add a little more water and try again until the edges do not crack, and are completely smooth.
4. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel.
5. Now for the filling – this bit’s easy! Heat the refried beans in a pan, over a medium-high heat. Add the remaining half of the salt, the worcestershire sauce, and the onion. Combine well.
6. Meanwhile, heat the chorizo in a separate pan, until that bright, vivid, orange oil runs freely.
7. Remove both pans from the heat, and set aside.
8. Roll the dough out to between 1/4 and 1/8 of an inch thick.
9. Cut into circles of 4-5 inches diameter.
10. Brush the rounds with water, and top each with 2tsp of Chorizo, 1tsp of mozzarella, and 1 tsp of the bean mix.
11. Fold over, and crimp the edges with a fork, to seal.
12. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat.
13. Once hot, add the empanadas, turning until light brown.
Tidier than a Uruguayan’s Munch on an Italian!
Much like Costa Rica, Tesco have turned their group on its head, winning against opponents everybody would normally expect to beat them. They’ve topped the table with a very handsome £8.11. Morrisons qualify in 2nd place at £8.67. Sainsburys finished third at £9.47, when many would’ve expected them to finish last based on recent form. Asda take that dubitable honour with their poor offering of £9.58.
In previous competitions, the star player Chorizo has been the distinguishing factor, but this time it was the cost of Cornflour, vegetable oil and refried beans that made the difference.
I think my frying pan was too big for the oil to come high enough up the sides of the empanadas, so choose wisely! It may even be worth using a saucepan if you don’t mind cooking the empanadas in smaller batches.
I think I’d also prefer fewer, slightly larger, empanadas, so you may want to make your rounds a bit bigger and increase the filling accordingly.
Because the dough is sticky, it can be quite difficult to handle… Make sure your surface is slightly floured (or oiled) when you’re rolling the dough, and cutting the rounds.
My favourite accidental tweak to this recipe is to make a veggie option by eliminating the chorizo… I say accidental because I ran out of chorizo for the last two!
You could fill these with almost any meat and/or veg you like, and I believe there are also sweet varieties… you’d want to alter the dough if you were doing that, though (and it would be obligatory to serve warm, with ice cream, I’m sure!)
Speaking of altering the dough, you could tweak this by mixing a flavoured oil through the dough (not too much!) or perhaps some finely chopped jalapeños. In this case, do not serve with ice cream.