Xislayin Longoria (Sisi) is happiest in her kitchen.
From Guanajuato near the centre of Mexico she’s been in New Zealand for two years. She moved with her husband Glenn, a New Zealander who had been living and working in Mexico with his children, about as far from the Waikato as you can get.
The couple decided to move to New Zealand as the Mexican property market, which Glenn worked in, slowed. Sisi had seen
documentaries on New Zealand before she arrived but says it’s is so much better than she imagined.
"Your chocolate is so creamy," she says. And she laughs when she admits meat pies are among her favourite New Zealand foods.
These empanadas are like little Mexican pies. Make them and freeze for later. They make great snacks.
Sisi often uses her chicken mōle to fill these empanadas, ora tomato based filling, like the recipe below. Sisi cuts her empanadas open and adds a little lettuce and sour cream to serve.
PREP: 1 HOUR INCLUDING FILLING COOK: 15 MINUTES
CHICKEN FILLING 500 grams boneless chicken thighs, cut into pieces 2 tablespoons of olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 teaspoon of ground cumin ½ teaspoon of ground allspice ½ teaspoon of chipotle chilli flakes 2 tablespoons of tomato paste 2 cups of chicken stock 1 teaspoon of sugar Salt and pepper to season EMPANADA PASTRY ½ cup of masa flour 1 cup of normal flour Salt ½ cup of water, more if needed Vegetable oil for frying
Heat the oil in a pan and sauté onion until translucent. Add all the remaining ingredients except the chicken and stock, and cook for 2 minutes, adding a little water if mixture becomes too dry. Add the chicken and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through. Shred chicken through the sauce. Cool mixture completely before making the empanadas.
For the empanada pastry, in a large bowl mix the flour and salt with just enough water to make a smooth, pliable dough. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave for 30 minutes. Pull off golf ball sized pieces of the dough and place between two pieces of baking paper or in a tortilla press. Roll out to a circle. Remove the top piece of paper and place a spoonful of the chicken on one half of the dough. Fold the dough over to make a half moon shape. Press the edges together to seal well. Make sure there are no holes in the pastry. Heat 5cm of oil in a deep medium-sized saucepan until a piece of bread dropped into the oil turns golden in 30 seconds. Cook the empanadas in batches until the pastry is golden on both sides. Drain on kitchen towels then serve hot with guacamole, sour cream and tomato salsa.
TIP: Masa flour is a traditional Mexican flour made from maize. Available at specialty food stores. The empanadas can be frozen once made and deep fried from frozen.