Cooking Under Fire – Minced Beef Pasty/Empanada Thingies

When your bathroom looks like this…

And your dogs are moved from pillar to post in a bed that gets dustier by the day…

You buy minced beef. Well, of course you do.  For a start it´s hard to buy in Andalucía, and then the beef tastes soooo good in England it would be a crime not to. I have discovered a lovely “proper” butcher in Bexhill, and have already made friends with him. He has free range eggs too which are nearly as good as ours. But not quite.

I bought half a kilo (or a pound as my new butcher friend said…he can´t forget those imperial measurements) and turned it into two “cook ahead” meals for us. First up, a simple pasty (but it´s not a Cornish Pasty as it contains carrot and no potato) or empanada (but not really) which I made ahead then warmed up for lunch. I also made another dish for supper later in the week, but more of that later.

Apologies for the photos, my “good” camera is sitting safely in its little rucksack as it doesn´t much like the huge quantities of dust we are currently dealing with on a daily basis.

Ingredients for 2 large thingies

  • 250g short crust pastry (I confess, I bought it)
  • 1 large carrot peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium leek, halved and finely sliced
  • ½ red pepper finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cumin
  • ½ wine glass of beef stock (I used a cube…I´m Cooking Under Fire you know!)
  • ½ wine glass of red wine (please make sure to drink the other half if you are using wine)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 500g of minced beef (you will only use about 200g of it, so use less if you don´t want to make another dish, or you could make 4 thingies instead)
  • Olive oil
  • One beaten egg

Start by slowly frying the onions, garlic and leek until softened then add the carrots and peppers. Cover the pan with a lid and continue cooking gently until the vegetables are all softened. Add the minced (ground) beef, the paprika and cumin and cook on a medium heat until the mince is cooked. Add the beef stock and wine, reduce the heat and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, taste and season.

Leave to cool slightly while you roll out the pastry. Cut it into two halves and if you´re feeling fancy you can cut out circles. Lay some minced meat filling down the centre of each piece (you´ll probably use less than half of what you have cooked if you used 500g of meat), fold the pastry over to make a parcel and brush with the beaten egg (I had to miss this step out as I had no eggs and I´m Cooking Under Fire you know!) Or have I mentioned that already?

Bake in a medium oven for about 25 minutes until golden brown or as near to golden brown as you can get your pastry without burning it because you didn´t have an egg in the house to brush on top even though you new butcher friend sells them. Phew, lunch (that isn´t a sandwich)…sorted!


77 thoughts on “Cooking Under Fire – Minced Beef Pasty/Empanada Thingies

  1. OK, I’m with your butcher. Still stuck with the imperial measurements. 😉 These look so tasty! Is what you are calling minced beef what we would call hamburger? (The minced meat that I am used to has raisins, currents, spices and a whole lot of other things)

  2. Thank you for answering my first question (for those of us on this side of the pond) that minced beef and ground beef are one and the same. So I am quite impressed with this pastry and your ability to cook under fire. It looks delicious with the spices and the wine…oh yes, the rest would not go to waste. 🙂 Quite a lovely lunch!

  3. Poor little dogs – they do look snuggly though! I’m going to make these for dinner tonight as they have mince which is apparently an acceptable ingredient today, according to my almost better, slightly grouchy DVD watching 5 year old. I was wondering if I could face more spaghetti bolognaise (her first request) and Chic comes to the rescue. Thanks dear.

    1. Good old mince – children always seem to like it (but yes, spag bol ad infinitum can be a little trying!). The dogs have been so good….as long as they are near us they can “dog nap” anywhere 🙂

  4. Excellent and you’d be hard pushed to make pastry in all the dust! There used to be (and I hope it’s still there) an amazing late night empanada stall by Elephant and Castle roundabout – I should go and look, it deserves to be blogged. I’ve never made empanadas, I must pull my finger out 😉

    1. I think real empanadas have a more bready dough which is fantastic. I know there´s a good place in Brixton market that does different South American empanadas…you could do some intensive research on the subject 🙂

  5. As a family of two, I’m sometimes hard pressed to think of a variety of meals when I cook up a batch of mince. Thanks, T, for reminding me of an old favourite.

    1. Yes, because mince is normally bought in quantities which produce a couple of meals we sometimes fall into the trap of repeating the same things…so it´s good to have a little change! Hope all is well in NZ – thinking of you 🙂

  6. Your large thingies look yummy! Being in Asia, I’m really missing all things meat/pastry related…pies, pasties, empanadas….its really a large chunk missing from the Asian diet, me thinks! Hehe.

    1. It´s funny isn´t it the things we miss! Have you not been posting recently? Must pop over as I know I haven´t received any notifications but it could be my reader that´s not working. Hope all is well with you guys!

      1. We’ve still been posting, perhaps a bit slower than usual! Everything went a bit pear shaped toward the end of our holiday but things have definitely improved since 🙂

  7. What a great idea for lunch, Tanya, no matter where you are. Given your circumstances, however, in the middle of a remodel, these thingies are perfect. A handy, warm, filling meal to enjoy before heading back into the fray.
    And your pooches … They look like they’ve found an island in the middle of stormy seas. 🙂

  8. Love your sense of humour and would love your thingies too if i was close enough to pinch one! Shush, but better than the local thingies with the paprika, cumin and wine methinks 🙂 ! Must admit to occasional problems on blogs when I forget all the world is as yet not decimal!!

    1. Yes, when I went in and asked for half a kilo of mince, the butcher smirked and said “ah, you´re a metric sort of lady then!”. Funny though, now I´m in England I have to remember that speed limits are in miles and not km!

  9. I’m amazed that you can make thingies like these under those conditions, but they certainly look as though they could sustain you through many hours of renovation!

  10. I’m so impressed.. Cooking Under Fire for me would be take-out.. er.. take-out anything!! If I came to visit and you served this to me, I would be so impressed by your gourmet cooking skills. Oh.. your little pups look resigned to the dust, but probably just so happy to be along with you!! Good luck with your work.. I like seeing the photos of the progress you’re making!!

    1. Thanks Barbara – we are now completely without a kitchen in the house so any further cooking will have to be done in my mum´s so am having to plan ahead. It may well be fish & chips tonight 🙂 The pups are rather dusty but enjoying their new “routine” of moving round the house and then walks on the´s not a bad life!

  11. Oh, the dogs look so adorable. I just love animals. They have so much expression. That is some bathroom project you have going. And even with all of the stuff you are doing, you are still preparing meals that are fantastic. If I ever get lost in the words, I would love for you to be there. I know I wouldn’t starve and the food would be tasty.

  12. Thingies – LOVE IT! I am super impressed that you have made such a gourmet luncheon Tanya – kudos to you! Think I would given Pete warmed up leftovers (if there are any) from the night before and I would probably have had a bovril sarmie!
    Poor pups. Would you like me to puppy sit for you until you are done? Not sure how they will get on with my 3 purry children but we can always try…
    🙂 Mandy xo

    1. A bovril sarnie sounds good to me! Puppy sitting would be great – our dogs think that cats are just very small goats, so they tend not to be bothered by them 🙂

  13. Still giggling at the title 🙂
    I love the sound of these; I’m going to play around with them and see what I can get the Little One to eat! I can see making them a little smaller, and freezing them for a quick lunch or dinner…

  14. Love the look of those thingies. I dare say if I showed Steve this post he would suddenly be in the mood for a batch of thingies so I am not going to show him! Pastry isn’t hard, but I am lazy and I spent last week as a slave to pastry (and the dogs…but that is another story and is generally related to the pastry story with a decidedly unhappy ending for the dogs!). I have a very similar shot of our oldest dog Bezial when we were renovating. Your dogs haven’t quite got the dusty pathetic look down pat yet…but they will! You had best have kept some thingy pastry for those seal eyes when they come because otherwise you are going to feel GUILTY…believe me…seal eyes are irresistible and you have 4 of them ready to be trained on you at any given time. Glad you found a good butcher but if he is anything like Steve, who has been living in Australia for 13 years now, you have bucklies and none of getting him to accept the Frog system of kilograms, grams and litres. Its pounds, ounces and feet or be buggered! 😉

    1. Ah, I love your comments, they always make me chuckle! Big Man is a bit of a whizz at mental arithmetic so loves to spend time calculating the equivalents in metric/imperial…well, it keeps him happy! And I think our gods are working on that dusty pathetic look 😉

      1. I can still look at that photo from 3 years ago and instantly head over to give the dog a treat…its no wonder he is fat the memory lives on! My man is the anti Big Man in that he leaves all of the mathematical equations to me and I am naturally brain dead when it comes to maths…that leaves us in a bit of a quandary when a large proportion of our course revolves around algebra, cos, sin and tan and I had to actually learn about them from the base up just to complete a unit in our course…they didn’t mention a maths prerequisite in the advertising blurb! I wonder if I can complain to the ombusman about forceable mathematics in the industry? It IS, after all, a form of mental torture…I am SURE that the Japanese used it in the war! Good luck trying to avoid the glare of the dusty dog by the way…its like the lair of the white worm…terrifying in its ability to make you do what they want you to do. I will send Bezial over to teach them in the ways…he is a 5th Dan in seal eyes and is willing to share what he has learned for a spot in a sunbeam and the odd bone.

  15. That looks like my type of fun. Although you definitely need a hearty lunch with that work to do! I’m not surprised your order of priority was a good butcher!
    Poor dogs. I hope they got something delicious too.

    1. You know me…track down the best food suppliers before I find the paint shop! And don´t you worry about the dogs…they are in food heaven right now as I only have a tiny fridge so they are getting plenty of leftovers 🙂

  16. Your thingies which were cooked under fire would keep me very happy and motivated to continue the work. Looks like great progress.

  17. Hey…welcome to Blighty! You have certainly brought the weather with you. We are over in sidmouth so give us a shout if you have time. Good luck and speak more soon. Trevor.

  18. The dogs seem to be handling it well, unfortunately my bathroom has looked a version like that for three years now, I know how you’re feeling with that dust and chaos. 🙂

  19. It is always important to find a trusted butcher anywhere you live! When I went to London during New Year’s eve, someone told me about how good English beef was. I hope everything goes well with you in Bexhill!

  20. As always, Chica, your posts make my tummy growl! I love all your adapted dishes! This makes me think of the Colombian empanadas my mother would make to remind my father of his childhood home and how I keep saying I’m going to try to make some myself. You inspire me to get the recipe from her.
    I love what you are doing with the house. What a fun project! I’m looking forward to more updates!

  21. They look good! think we ought to polish off the whole bottle of wine while we are at it! dogs look miserable as sin. Not had a thingy for ages, must cook some of these. Love the idea of adding ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika and ½ teaspoon of ground cumin, must try!

  22. Oh my goodness.. i am still in shock after seeing your bathroom, I though this was only going to be a little job! Love your not so cornish pasties!! c

    1. Hi Celi – I wish I could post and look at blogs right now as we (as of today) have a real, live, fully functioning bathroom! I can only respond to comments as it seems I have “passed my data limit” 😦 Miss you all and would love to show you a photo of the new bathroom!

    1. Hi Marina – thanks for your visit and your kind words! I am currently in the UK with not great internet access, but when I am back in Spain I will make you a return visit 🙂

  23. Me encantan las empanadas! Heheh, and guess what? I have an oven for the remaining summer weeks (we’re momentarily in D-Man’s hometown). I don’t care how hot it gets, I’m baking!

    1. Cooking right now is very basic as we are in the house and not at my mum and dad´s place – I have an ancient gas cooker, a tiny fridge and a tap with a bucket!

  24. Not sure if you got my last reply? Here goes again…hello…it’s all looking fantastic. Well done. We hope to be in our new house by end of Oct. Will tell all soon. New blog on way too. Remember yo take time and stare! All the best. Trevor.

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