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Game empanadas

Game empanadas

A decidedly Devon take on a Latin American classic


  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp oil for cooking
  • 250g game meat, diced
  • 80g smoked bacon lardons
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 7 chestnut mushrooms, diced
  • ½ tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • ½ tbsp plain flour
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 juniper berries
  • 100ml red wine
  • 200ml beef stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp caraway, cumin or fennel seeds, optional

For the pastry

  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100g salted butter, diced and chilled
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 60ml water
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 egg beaten, for egg wash


  1. Coat the game meat in the flour and mix with your hands. Heat a large pan and fry the meat until browned all over. Remove the meat and set aside. Add the smoked lardons and onions and cook for a few minutes. Tip the meat back into the pan along with any juices. Add the mushrooms and tomato purée. Stir to coat the meat before adding the red wine, redcurrant jelly, Worcestershire sauce, and beef stock. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for about one hour.
  2. To make the pastry, put the first three ingredients into a food processor and pulse until it resembles fine breadcrumbs (or you may prefer to use your hands). Mix the egg yolks with the water and lemon juice. Pulse until the pastry just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until combined. Flatten into a disk, wrap with cling film and chill for at least one hour 
  3. Once the meat is tender, remove from the heat and set aside, transferring it into a tray to allow to cool completely.
  4. Preheat your oven to 200˚C/180˚C fan-assisted/gas mark 6. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Lightly flour a work surface and roll the pastry out until it is the thickness of a pound coin. Cut into 12cm circles. Place two tablespoons of filling into the middle of each circle, brush the edges with egg wash and fold over into a semi-circle. Put onto a lined baking tray. Once they are all done, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with some seeds (optional). Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until golden and crisp.

Recipe by Jody Spencer

Taste Buds chef: Jody Spencer

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