These Salteñas are from La Paz and Sucre. You’ll need for the filling: (It must be prepared the night before)
1 1/2 lbs. top round steak cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1 lb. potatoes cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup peas
2 cups finely chopped onions
1 tablespoon aji (hot ground red pepper; see Note
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce (optional)
4 cups beef consomme (hot)
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
How to prepare:
Parboil potatoes and peas separately. Brown the onion and cook until tender. Dissolve the red pepper in 1/2 cup water. Add cumin and pour into the onions. Add sugar and salt.
In a big bowl mix the drained potatoes and peas, the meat (raw), the onion mixture, the parsley, oregano, mustard, Worcestershire Sauce and the consomme in which the gelatin has been dissolved. Mix well and chill.
You’ll need for the pastry:
8 cups flour
1 lb. vegetable shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water mixed with 1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon achiote or oruco seeds (if not found, use vegetable yellow coloring)
How to prepare:
The achiote or oruco seeds are used to color the dough, which should be a deep yellow. Fry them in 1 tablespoon of shortening and strain, reserving the colored oil. Keep it hot.
Mix the flour with the sugar. Heat the shortening and pour over the flour and sugar, adding the oil from frying the seeds. Mix thoroughly with the flour and then add the water and salt, which has been warmed. Knead until the dough is smooth. Work while everything is still warm. Cut into pieces and roll into approximately 2-inch balls. With a rolling pin, flatten the balls until you have a stack of round, very thin pastries.
Before filling the pastries have ready:
4 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
4 oz. seedless raisins, soaked in water and drained
1 - 6-ounce can black ripe olives, pitted
Put a tablespoon of the filling crosswise on each pastry round, adding 1 thin slice of egg, 3 raisins and 1 olive. Moisten the edges of the pastry with water, bring the edges together and seal them, rolling them with your thumb so that the closing looks like twisted rope. The finished pastry should resemble a slightly deflated football laced from one end to the other across the top.
Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven until golden brown and serve immediately. Fifty empanadas.
Note: Salteñas are a local variation of the famous Empanadas, bought to the Americas by the Spaniards. Like most of Latin American food copied from the Conquistadores, every country has its own recipe with slight or radical variations. In the Bolivian case, the recipe above is the La Paz-Sucre one, which usually has raisins and is spicy. The Potosi version is different and is called Potosinas, which are fried empanadas. There’s also the Empanadas de Jigote in Santa Cruz, which are also fried and have a Jigote (mindec meat) filling. Other variations are the Salteñas de Pollo (chicken Salteñas), whose preparation is the same as above, just substitute meat for chicken.