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Friday, November 9, 2012


Kosher food
Photo from: Verbal Jam
prohibition of pork. This applies to Jews and Muslims. For Hebrews, it was part of defining and discriminating to exemplify holiness. These prohibitions are outlined in the Quran in the mālikī in which illegal harām or illegal foods for Jews are listed. The hadīts, or proverbs of the Prophet, generally follow the same lines as the Hebrews. Here it is indicated clearly that eating pork is forbidden and punishable by God. Cloven-hoofed and cud chewing animals were considered proper food while pigs did not meet this criteria. Spaniards explain that the real reason for this is because if Jews ate pork they would loose their incentive to be rich. The Muslims, they explain, have so little regard for their lives when at war because they are dying to go to Paradise to eat Iberian ham. Castro, on the other hand, maintains that there was plenty of pork in Muslim lands during the Ommaide period and pigs continued to be raised in the Nazari kingdom. In the 15th C Ibn Srāŷ, a lawyer, recommended in one of his consultations that the farmers pay the wage of the swine herder. Castro continues by stating that Expiración García Sánchez, in La alimentación en Andalucía islámica affirms that it is possible that in rural areas pork was consumed in as much as Ibn Wāfif, in his Tratado de Agricultura, dedicated a chapter to slaughtering pigs. In spite of what has been said to date, the supposition that Hispanic Muslims ate pork cannot be proved. See camello. [Camba. 1995:90; Castro. Alimentación. 1994:167-168:229; and Misc. conversations with Spanish “hams.” n/d.]

Makes 10 empanadas

The Filling
Photo by: Lord-Williams

1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
1/4 lb lamb cut into 2” pieces[2]
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp crushed fenugreek
½ tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
¼ - ½ c water
½ c raisins (optional)

Spice Mixture:
¼ c chopped fresh cilantro or fresh parsley
1/3 c chopped onion
½-3/4 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp white pepper
½ c hard cheese, such as Manchego[3]

Empanada Ready for Frying or Freezing
See Ftn 6
Photo by: Lord-Williams
½ c water
½ c olive oil[4]
Pinch of salt
1½ c flour

2-4 tbsp olive oil

Honey for garnish


1.     In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the onion and lamb and fry until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
2.     Stir in the cardamon, fenugreek, salt, and pepper.
3.     Add just enough water to barely cover the mixture (about 1/3 – ½ cup).
4.     Drain the meat mixture. You may reserve the broth for use in a stew some other time.
5.     Slice or chop the meat into small pieces. Place the meat mixture in a medium bowl.
6.     Combine the spices and cheese. Mix them thoroughly into the meat. Set aside or refrigerate.

Prepare the dough:
7.     Bring the 1/3 c water, oil, and salt to boil in a medium pan. Remove from heat. 
8.     When the liquid s tepid, add the flour all at once to the water mixture. Stir until all is well mixed.
9.     Place an egg-size lump of dough on a lightly floured bread board. With a rolling pin, shape it into a 1/3”-thick oval.

Simply Delicious!
Photo by: Lord-Willams
Assemble the pies:
10.  Place 1 tbsp of meat mixture onto a piece of dough. Fold and pinch the fold to seal the pie.

Fry the pies[6]
11.  Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Place the pies in the hot oil and gently fry, turning them once or twice until golden brown on both sides, about 6 minutes.[7] You may have to do this in batches, adding more oil as needed.
12.  Remove and drain on paper towels.

13.  Serve hot or cold. Drizzle warmed honey over the top of the pies. 

[1] During Soto’s posthumous trail it was revealed that this recipe was one of his family’s favorite Sabbath day dishes.
[2] A Christian could have used pork.
[3] Gitlitz points out that mixing meat with milk, or in this case cheese, was prohibited by Jewish law but Hispanic Jews did not seem to follow this rule.
[4] A Christian would have used lard.
[5] The steps in making this dish may seem cumbersome, but the actual preparation time is not long.
[6] These meat pies are best eaten hot. If you wish to prepare them ahead of time for serving at a later date, we suggest that you halt the preparation after you have formed the meat pies, but before you actually fry them. They are also good cold.
[7] This method and deep frying were tried. Both made for excellent empanadas/turnovers. The latter method resulted in crispier dough.

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