Wednesday, 7 November 2012

I don't know about you but in London as soon as the Halloween emotions fall, the city gets into this magical pre-Christmas, festive mood. The stores here are already selling Christmas delicacies, shopping malls are already competing who's gonna assemble larger and more colorful Christmas tree and the busiest shopping street in London is flashing with its beautiful hanging lanterns... hmmm ... many of you would ask if it's not too early yet for all this Christmas business? :) But what the hell, I like the festive mood, I like when it's cold outside and my nose is frosting in the air, when the house smells of oranges and cinnamon... Recently, I even found myself singing quietly the Christmas song that was played in the shop... lallalala
I also like Christmas food all year round. One of those unique recipe that you can eat just when fancy it, I want to share with you here.... it's a lovely combination of aromatic and moist, Polish mushroom and cabbage filling wrapped in a crispy South American empanada pastry. It tastes delicious with a cup of hot red borscht. It can be a great cold addition to your everyday lunch box, or simply a great nibble with a pint of lager :)

Empanada with Polish Christmas stuffing of mushrooms and cabbage
The filling inspired by this recipe and the pastry recipe comes from the "1000 recipes" book by Victoria Bllashford-Snell

For the pastry:
450g plain flour
pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
85g butter, diced
2 eggs, beaten, plus extra one for glazing
4-6 tablespoons of hot water

To make the pastry, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl with 1/2 tsp salt. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the beaten eggs with 4-6 tablespoons of water and combine to form a dough. Cover with clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes in a refrigerator.

Mushroom and cabbage filling:
500g mushrooms
1/3 kg of sauerkraut
1 medium onion
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying

Put sauerkraut into the pot, cover with cold water and cook for minimum 1 hour, until the cabbage is tender. Strain through a sieve and squeeze out the water properly. Finely chop. Peel the onions and mushrooms and chop finely. Heat an oil in a frying pan. Fry onions together mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste (at your discretion). Simmer until mushrooms are tender and their juice evaporates. Throw in the chopped cabbage. Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary, and cook together for a few minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 3 millimeters. Cut out 24 rounds with a pastry cutter (I've used a large diameter glass). Put two teaspoons of filling on 12 rounds and cover with another ones. Pinch the ends of the rounds with your fingertips ;) You can also make the pattern around the edges with a fork. Brush with egg yolk. Bake empanadas on a baking sheet, for about 20-30 minutes, until golden. Enjoy!

Delicioso! :)

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