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Spanish Meat Pies

The Lubavitch Center's Spanish menu includes paella, sangria, flan and Spanish Meat Pies. The meat pie recipe was created by Chaim Reisner, a chef who specializes in making non-kosher recipes into kosher replicas. Reisner said that almost every country with Spanish influence makes meat pies called empanadas. In Spain, they are shaped like dessert pies, but in poorer countries such as Mexico, they are wrapped in dough and deep-fried. Reisner's recipe borrows the concept of folded dough from the Mexican version but, unlike the Spanish version, calls for baking, not frying.

1 pound chopped beef
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup fresh, barely ripe tomato, skinned and chopped (we used canned tomatoes)
1/2 cup red or green bell pepper, peeled (see note)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup green olives, sliced
1/4 teaspoon red hot sauce
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 frozen pie shells, thawed but unbaked
1 egg
2 tablespoons water

Saute beef (we used ground beef) with shortening until it's brown and sticks to pan. Add onion, tomato, peppers, olives and garlic. Cook 6 minutes, then add red hot sauce, ground black pepper and flour. Cut out 5-inch round circles from defrosted pie crust.

Fill center of dough with meat mixture. Fold over and press edges down with fork, brush with beaten egg mixed with water. Bake at 425 degrees for 13 minutes or until brown.

Note: To peel the pepper, we put it in the broiler for a few minutes to char the skin so it would be easier to remove.

Chef Chaim Reisner

Sunday, February 18, 2001

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