ARGENTINA

This flag was created during the Argentine War of Independence. It features the ‘Sun of May’, which is the national symbol of Argentina and Uruguay. It represents the Inca God of the sun, Inti.
COUNTRYArgentina
DishesVegan Empanadas, Chimchurri
Time Empanadas = 1 hour,
Effort Empanadas = 5/10,
Rough cost Empanadas = £4,
COUNTRY Argentina
Capital Buenos Aries
Population 44, 938, 712 (32nd largest)
Land mass 2, 780, 400 km2 (8th largest)
Languages Spanish (national language)
ReligionsRoman Catholic (62.9%)

THOUGHTS

Argentinian cuisine is a blend of Mediterranean and Native American influences. The national dish is asado (barbecue) and chimchurri is the most common condiment for this. The empanada is a classic starter or party food and can have hundreds of different fillings; cheese, meat or just trusty veggies.

This week, Mwara was visiting Bridget in Oxford and so we cooked empanadas in a student kitchen. We had to make do with what we had but it was a success and it was very tasty. Then Mwara + Peter cooked chimchurri and steak for Sunday lunch, back in Scotland.

RECIPES

Chimchurri

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley (no stems)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsps fresh oregano leaves (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red / white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Method

  1. Finely chop the parsley, oregano, and garlic (or process in a food processor several pulses). Place in a small bowl.
  2. Stir in the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Adjust seasonings.
  3. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
  4. We served it with rib-eye STEAK from the butcher’s and roasted veg – it was delicious!

Vegan Empanadas

Ingredients

Filling

  • 3 sweet potatoes, finely cubed
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tin of lentils
  • 2 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • Spices (I used a bhuna spice mix)

Dough

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 Cup vegan butter (chilled and cubed)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2-3/4 cup water

Method

  1. Add flour and salt to a large bowl and mix well. Add the butter and mix it into the flour with a your hands or a fork until the texture is crumbly.
  2. Add water, starting with 1/2 cup and adding a just little at a time to form a ball of dough.
  3. Let it rest in the fridge and prepare the filling.
  4. In a large pan over medium heat, add 2 tbsp of oil and fry the onion, garlic and dried thyme for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the diced sweet potato, and spices and cook until soft, stirring in the lentils after 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit while you prepare the empanada dough.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lay your dough down on a floured flat surface. Roll it out until it’s thin but still sturdy (we used a wine bottle as a rolling pin).
  8. Cut roughly 4 inch circles (we used a bowl) out of the dough.
  9. Scoop roughly 2 tbsp amounts of filling into the center of each circle. Lightly wet all edges with water and fold the dough over the filling, squeezing the edges together. There are different ways of sealing the empanada; Bridget used a fork to seal them and Mwara tried the traditional folding method.
  10. Lightly brush all empanadas with 2-4 tablespoons oil or plant milk and bake for 20 minutes on a tray. In hindsight, we thought glazing them with malt vinegar might help give the empanadas a nicer brown colour.
  11. We served the empanada with a fresh salad and some red wine (preferably Argentinian).

Muchas Gracias and see you in Armenia! M + B

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