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MMM - Mama Mercedes’ Magic Empanadas Class at 83 Hanover Street
New Review
83 Hanover Street ,
Edinburgh
0131 225 4862
Thurs - Sat from noon Tue, Wed & Sun from 5pm

 

Juan Castillo Castro, owner of Edinburgh’s popular Chilean brasserie, has always credited his lovely mum, Mercedes, with inspiring a love of modern Chilean cooking,which he presents using Scottish produce, stylishly showcased with Latin American verve & unique cocktails.  New to the bar list is his unmissably delicious ‘Pinot Noir Sour’ - the hot new low-alcohol spritz in Chile

Along with my Chilena pal (who makes a mean empanada herself), I tried Mama’s cooking directly, at a masterclass demo by Mercedes on one of her regular trips from Sweden, where she has spent many years as a teacher since leaving Santiago back in the Pinochet era.

In Sweden her small savoury stuffed pastries became the universal food currency helping the family get to know their neighbours and integrate to the community.  The locals developed a taste for empanadas that helped the family raise money for their annual trips back to Chile.  Juan remembers fondly how he and school friends would look forward to little round tasty leftovers - comparable to Scots children getting to scrape out the gingerbread mixing bowl!

The filling itself, known as ‘Pino”, is richly savoury beef mince cooked with plenty of softened golden onions, cumin, chilli powder, garlic and paprika (Mercedes has kindly agreed to share her own recipe with Bite.  As they’re made for special occasions in Chile, they will only be available at 83 Hanover St on her regular visits as they are at their very best made and eaten while still fresh rather than frozen.


Lard, or manteca in Spanish is a key ingredient in the pastry dough.  While she often makes them with margarine in Sweden to suit local tastes, she insists that this natural, less highly-processed solid fat is key to the crispest texture (these little stuffed pies are also liberally brushed with whole egg), and above all the best flavour of the pastry.  The filling is unusual to Scots in that it always includes little bonuses of hard-boiled egg, two or three sweet raisins and a plump salty black olive tucked in with the meat. 
Pamèla and I ‘had a go’ at filling Mercedes’ own pastry and ate our creations, which were indeed super-tasty!  Future special evenings planned include seafood empanadas.(The Go-Between)


 


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