Walnut Lamb Empanadas

2 tbsp olive oil 30 mL
1 clove garlic, minced 1
1 onion, diced 1
1 lb ground lamb 500 g
1 cup California walnut pieces 250 mL
1 potato, cooked and diced 1
¾ cups green peas 175 mL
1/3 cup tomato, diced 75 mL
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced 75 mL
2 tbsp lemon juice 30 mL
2 tsp sea salt 10 mL
2 tsp paprika 10 mL
1 tsp cumin 5 mL
1 tsp nutmeg 5 mL
2 400 g (14 oz) boxes frozen pie pastry (like Pillsbury) 2
2 eggs, beaten 2

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

Heat a large, heavy bottomed skillet on medium-high heat. Add oil, garlic and onion. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add lamb, stirring frequently, until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain excess fat in colander. Transfer lamb to a medium sized mixing bowl and combine remaining ingredients: walnut pieces, potato, green peas, tomato, olives, lemon juice, sea salt, paprika, cumin, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Roll out pie pastry and cut out 24, 4-inch (10 cm) rounds with a bowl or cookie cutter. Brush the outer edge of a round with egg wash and spoon about 1 1.2 tbsp (20 mL) lamb filling into centre of pastry. Fold one side over the other and crimp edge with a fork to seal.

Repeat until all the pastry and filling has been used. Brush tops of empanadas with remaining egg wash before baking.

Bake in 3 batches on centre rack for 15 to 20 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

Makes 24.

PER SERVING (1 empanada): about 206 cal, 6 g pro, 14 g fat (4 g sat. fat), 15 g carb, 1 g fibre, 30 mg chol, 269 mg sodium. %RDI: 2% calcium, 4% iron, 2% vit A, 6% vit C.

Recipe and image courtesy of the California Walnut Commission. For more recipe ideas and information about the health benefits of walnuts, visit www.walnutinfo.com.

Next holiday appetizer idea: Roasted Ontario Pear, Shallot and Cumin Tartlets.