Monday, October 8, 2007

Tastes Like...Hope!

We’ve all heard people say, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime!”

This really is more than just a worn-out cliché. One of the ways Children International helps families break the cycle of poverty is by teaching moms and dads – and young people – skills to help them earn better livings and more successfully provide for their families. In some cases, we also help them obtain micro-enterprise loans to get their fledgling businesses off the ground.

One example of these vocational programs is the Good Hope Workshop, in Viña del Mar, Chile. A group of volunteer moms found they could better their standard of living by working together to produce and sell baked goods. I visited their kitchen some months ago, and it was pretty impressive – clean, spacious and well equipped for the task.

These moms graciously agreed to share one of their luscious recipes with us…but beware: These empanadas (pastry shells stuffed with seasoned meat) can be seriously habit-forming!

Empanadas for “Tú”

Ingredients for pastry shells:
4½ cups flour
½ cup lard
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup warm milk

Ingredients for filling:
1 lb. ground beef
3 medium white onions (chopped)
3 tbsp. lard
2 tbsp. chili powder
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ cup raisins
½ cup green olives (chopped)
3 hard-boiled eggs (sliced)
salt and pepper

Melt lard in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add ground beef, onions, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix ingredients and cook until beef is browned. Set aside when finished.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Melt lard and, along with warm milk, pour into flour mixture and mix until dough is soft (be careful not to overmix). Divide dough into twelve portions and cover with a damp cloth to keep moist.

Roll the dough into 3" to 4" circles approximately 3 millimeters thick. Place a tablespoon of beef mixture, a few raisins and olives, and a slice of egg in each circle. Moisten the edge of half the dough with water, fold in two, and crease the edge with the tines of a fork to seal.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place empanadas on a baking sheet powdered with flour or covered with parchment paper. Brush each empanada with milk and puncture a couple times with a fork to prevent pockets from opening while baking. Bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes until empanadas are toasty and golden.

Click here to read the full story on the Good Hope Workshop as it appeared originally in the October 2004 edition of Children International’s eNews.

Photo of empanadas courtesy of

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