Inspiration is at an all time high right now. With the world gone completely off it's rocker clearing shelves of of Andrex and pasta the Shack has quarantined itself awaiting the arrival of baby Shack. Wee mini me is in fact due today but has shown no signs at all of making an appearance, very unlike myself and the missus who are the weirdos in the corner who turn up early for everything rather than risk being even a moment late, little one seems determined to make his entrance when s/he damn well wants to.
Anyway, I digress. Our quarantine is very neatly timed with the start of a new series of Masterchef, our absolute guilty pleasure. The missus and I go at Masterchef like most die hard fans would when watching their favourite football team play. Ferocious shouting at the box if we do not agree with the Judges decision and giving our own version of a red card when someone fucks their timings up.
So with all the multi cultural inspiration flowing whilst watching John and Greg stuff their faces and my love of feeding my own pie hole, we came up with a bit of a plan for the next couple of posts: lunches from around the world cooked wherever possible outside on the grill and with a twist of my own. Yep that will kill the time of quarantine alright. Well at least until I am knee deep in nappies.
So we'll be starting our worldwide journey in ARGENTINA, South America.
True to my heart, Argentines have a reputation for their love of eating and much like the Shack, social gatherings revolve around gathering for a good old eat up. In most parts of Argentina, lunch is the largest meal of the day. Aside from the largest cities, most towns close for lunch time. This is when most people return home to enjoy a large meal and a siesta, presumably in a self induced food coma. I can get on board with the Argentine way of life!
If this wasn't enough to get me booking my ticket already, it is apparent that Argentina is a nation of meat loving carnivores who love nothing more than getting their nashers on a good piece of meat, particularly beef which is most loved by the natives.
Que this week's meat sweat inducing video, buttery basted T bone steak....
One of the main major foodie attractions of Argentina is the Asado, Argentina's dedication and almost worship like passion for barbecue and meat centred around various contraptions known as "Parillas" conjuring up varieties of meaty delights to be enjoyed by family and friends. There are a number of Asado cooking courses popping up here in Blighty and something definitely on the bucket list, so watch this Blog space for more on Asado in the future.
One of Argentina's most loved street foods and the focus of our attention today is the Empanada, a doughy hand pie filled with a variety of meaty or sweet fillings with each province of Argentina having it's very own speciality.
The name comes from the Spanish "Empanar" literally meaning wrapped in bread. It's acceptable to eat empanadas at any meal, even breakfast, but they're most commonly enjoyed at lunch or as a snack. Traditionally a hand held pie, whilst trying the recipe out for my Traeger Timberline for the bake I opted to make a larger, man sized snack for two reasons; 1 - I wasn't quite convinced of my finesse abilities to create an edible pie that was so small and delicate and 2 - here at the shack we believe that everything that is bigger is better!
So I set about making the homemade empanada dough from scratch which was surprisingly easy to accomplish taking little more than 10 minutes. I then set about filling my man sized pies with chunks of reverse seared buttery Tbone with traditional Argentinian accompaniments of boiled eggs and olives, spiced with MEAT DUST and on to the grill they go after learning the knack of folding and pressing with the watchful eye of the Mrs.
The recipe will easily make 6 - 8 Jack sized empanadas and 12 or more if you opt for a traditional hand sized pie. Quite frankly they were delicious if I do say so myself. Definitely one to add the the barbecue bible going forward.