No one’s offside at the Homeless World Cup

I read this story with great joy the other day, another great example of what we can achieve if we work together.

Playing for a better life. In the Chilean capital of Santiago this October, that was the goal of 432 footballers who have experienced homelessness.

The Homeless World Cup uses the power of football to energise homeless people so they can change their own lives. Through a network of grassroots football programmes in 70 countries, weekly street soccer sessions are delivered to tens of thousands of socially excluded people. Once a year, a national team from each country competes in the World Cup.

Co-founder Mel Young emphasised the continuing need for the annual event during his opening speech to players: “The world today for many, many people is not a good place. We have created a cruel world where many people are excluded. This is not sustainable. Too many people live frightened lives trying to scratch a living in the dark. We have to move these people to the light.”

“Too many people live frightened lives trying to scratch a living in the dark. We have to move these people to the light.”

One of these people was Marvin Dulder. He was 15 years old when he moved with his mother and sister from the former Dutch colony of Suriname to Bijlmer in the Netherlands, which at the time was dubbed Holland’s first and only ghetto. “You used to see addicts at the ATMs and there was crime everywhere,” he recalls.

The street had too many temptations for Marvin. He turned to crime and his life became a downward spiral. “You get introduced to boys who make money quickly. You steal something from a shop and then you shift your boundaries,” he says. When he was 24, disaster struck. He was violently attacked on the street because he had stolen “from the wrong guys”. In hospital with serious injuries, he realised things could have ended very differently, and he knew he had to make a choice. “I had to get away from that world. I wanted to do something with my life and find a new focus,” he says.

Football became a way to relieve tension. Together with neighbourhood friends he had a kickaround in a school playground, and one day he was spotted by the coach of the local street soccer team. He started going along for training sessions and slowly learned to manage his anger and build confidence. Taking part in the Homeless World Cup in Chile showed him, he says, “a different world”, and he is now determined to study youth work, and volunteer at next year’s Homeless World Cup in his home town of Amsterdam.

I hadn’t made any Chilean recipes before so decided to experiment with a new dish inspired by this good news story.

This recipe I found will fill your friends as you watch the beautiful game……

Empanada de horno


  • 7 to 8 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces (8 tablespoons) good quality lard or 4 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening plus 4 tablespoons butter at room temperature

Filling Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon salt dissolved in 2 cups warm water
  • Filling Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 medium white onions,  finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 ½  tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 ½  teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 lb. beef for stewing, cut into ¼ inch cubes, or ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup beef stock
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, shelled and quartered
  • Raisins
  • Ripe whole black olives, pitted
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for glaze

Preparation for the Dough

On a clean wood surface, sift the flour. Make a well in the centre, add the lard and some of the salted water, add more of the water as needed. Using a wooden spoon, combine all the ingredients as quickly as possible; knead very well for about five minutes until a soft dough is formed. Do not overwork the dough, it will result in a tough pasty. Wrap the dough in a clean kitchen towel and keep it warm and workable, let it rest for 30 minutes.

Dough ball

Filling Preparation

Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened around 10 mins. Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne. Add the meat and cook, stirring occasionally for around 5 minutes. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour over the meat mixture and stir well. Pour over stock and cook uncovered over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the juices have evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes. The mixture should be moist but not runny. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Leave to cool.

Now set up your filling station for the empanadas. Have all the ingredients ready, the cold meat mixture, eggs, raisins, olives and glaze.

Preheat oven to 400 F (205 C)

Shape dough into a large sausage, and slice into 12 equal pieces. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered. Roll out each piece of dough into an 8-inch round about ¼ inch thick. Spoon about ¼ cup of filling onto each circle, leaving a ¾ edge margin.

Adding the filling

Top each one with 1 egg quarter, 3 raisins and 2 olives. Brush the margins all around with water and fold circles in half. To enclose the filling securely, fold each half circle into a square, place the straight edge of the half-circle towards you, then fold in left edge, then right edge, and lastly the top one to make a square. Seal the corners with your thumb by making a deep imprint in each one, or you could make lots of mini ones for canapes. Brush each ready empanada with the egg yolk mixture. With a toothpick, prick 3 to 4 holes in each one to prevent it from opening up while baking.


Brush egg yolk

Folding empanada

Folding empanada

Folding empanada

Bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the pastry is nicely browned and the filling is piping hot. Serve at once. Baked empanadas can be easily reheated.




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