Spicy Pork Empanadas

, from Issue #33. September, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Spicy Pork Empanadas


1 x 400 gram pork fillet (I used free-farmed)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
¼-½ teaspoon chilli flakes
2 rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
100 ml Marsala or red wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper
800 grams puff pastry (or 6-8 sheets of ready rolled)
melted butter or 1 egg, lightly beaten
sesame seeds


Remove any sinew from the pork, roughly chop it then mince in a food processor.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and sauté the onion for 2 minutes or until translucent but not browned. Add the chilli flakes, rosemary and fennel seeds and stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the minced pork and cook over a high heat until just starting to brown, then stir in the tomato paste and mix well. Add the diced apple and then the Marsala, still over a high heat, so the Marsala bubbles. Reduce the heat and cook for a further couple of minutes. Taste and season. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cool completely.

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to approximately 3-4 mm thick (or use ready-rolled pastry). Cut out circles using 10 cm round cutters or by cutting around a small saucer. Place a heaped teaspoon of the cooled filling in one half of each round. Dip your finger in water and slightly dampen the pastry around the edges. Fold the pastry over the filling to make a half moon shape then seal using the prongs of a fork.The empanadas can be frozen at this stage.

Preheat the oven to 190ºC fan. Place the empanadas on a lightly greased baking tray and brush with a little melted butter or beaten egg. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds then bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes or until golden and puffed. Serve hot or warm. Makes 24 – 30