Saltenas


A salteña is a type of baked empanada of Bolivian origin sold throughout Bolivia, although they are also available in other countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Chile. Salteñas are savory pastries filled with beef, pork or chicken mixed in a sweet, slightly spicy or very spicy sauce, and sometimes also containing peas, potatoes and other ingredients. I love these tasty little things. Salteñas are great party appetizers but I’ve got to say, they are a lot of work.

Filling
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken meat (breast and/or thigh) or 1
pound ground beef
1/2 cup diced onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup diced very small carrots
1/2 cup peas
1 3/4 cups diced very small potatoes
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 cup chicken or beef broth

Dough
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground achiote (optional, found at Latin American markets. This gives the dough a yellow color)
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil

To finish
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped ripe olives
2 boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
2 egg whites

For filling:
Cook and shred chicken. If using ground beef, brown and
drain. Set aside.
Cook onion in oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt, cumin,
oregano, cayenne, carrots, peas and potatoes. Cook, covered, over medium heat until
potatoes and carrots are soft, about 10 minutes.
Dissolve gelatin in broth; stir into onion mixture with meat and veggies. Refrigerate overnight.

For dough:
Mix flour, sugar, salt and achiote. Beat together the
eggs, oil and 1/2 cup water; stir into dry ingredients to form a soft
dough. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about
1/4 inch. Cut into 5- to 6-inch circles (a bowl makes a
good cutter). Reroll and cut as needed.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Put about 1/4 cup filling in center of each
circle. Top with 1 teaspoon each raisins, olives and egg. Draw 2
opposite sides of circle together; pinch closed. Twist seam for a
braided effect.

Place, seam side up, on ungreased baking sheet. Beat egg whites with
a pinch of salt and brush on saltenas. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until
golden. Makes about 15.

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