Whilst in Madrid last year with some friends, I became a huge fan of the empanada. Every lunchtime we would scour around for our nearest food market or small store and pick up a few different varieties of empanada and enjoy them in the sunshine. It was delicious and is only really beaten for me by buying huge fresh warm arancini in Italy and eating them by the waterside. Later last year I was in New York and out for dinner with a friend who absolutely insisted I order the elote as a side dish. I’ll be honest with you, dear reader, I had no clue what I was ordering. I just trusted Rachel knew what she was on about and went for it and oh my goodness was she right. It was this delicious spicy, creamy, sweet corn side dish that I regularly fantasise about. Thus, with a little extra time on my hands these days I decided to give empanadas and elote a go for our dinner one evening. My apologies go to anyone who is far more experienced at making this food than I am, this is simply my very basic attempt at cooking some of my favourite food whilst we are all stuck inside and our available ingredients are a bit more limited than normal!
For the empanadas I went for one vegetarian filling using chickpeas as my bulk and protein, and one more traditional tuna fish filling. Both were completely delicious, and my parents loved them as well! There are loads of empanada filling options available when you’re in Spain so don’t be afraid to experiment with whatever you have available to you at the moment.
- One onion
- Two cloves of garlic
- One bell pepper
- Tuna or Chickpeas
- A little vegetable spread or olive oil
For the majority of this recipe I used the ingredients and instructions I found on Laylita.com, but just halved them all. We didn’t have all the ingredients available to us for the filling, so made appropriate substitutions where possible. For the vegetarian option I used some spiced chickpeas in place of the tuna. If I were to make these again I might try making a spicy roasted pepper and manchego one as that appeals to everything I love!
Making the dough was time consuming but completely worth it – even though I had to use self raising flour so I had slightly puffier empanadas than I would have wanted. The key thing is having the time to let the dough rest and chill, which is of course is fine when you’re spending all your time at home anyway. By halving the recipe I made six good size empanadas, and had enough dough and mixture left over to make a few smaller ones for cheeky snacks the following day. Who doesn’t enjoy the fruits of their labours over the course of a couple of days?!
For the elote, I browsed the internet for a few suggested recipes and came up with the following:
Lockdown Elote (serves three to four):
- One tin of sweetcorn
- One teaspoon of paprika
- Half a teaspoon of chilli
- One teaspoon of mayonnaise
- One teaspoon of sour cream
- Roughly a dessert spoon of grated cheese
- Jalapenos to taste!
This is obviously a very crude, lockdown larder attempt at creating the sweet, spicy and salty taste of elote but it definitely hit the spot for my family. I just lightly browned off the rice, added in the dried spices then turned off the heat and added the mayo, sour cream, grated cheese and jalapenos and stirred until the whole thing became this glorious creamy mixture. It was delicious and the ideal side dish to the empanadas!