An Empanada Gallega is a Spanish pie from the region of Galicia and is very large, the size of a baking tray. Pieces are cut from it and eaten by hand. It is also a popular Spanish snack that you can buy in bakeries to take away. The smaller pastries are called empanadillas, the diminutive form of empanada. However, the names are not always used so precisely.
The preparation is very simple, but the result is nevertheless impressive. We describe a classic filling here, but you can vary it as you wish. If you want to eat vegetarian, you can use pre-cooked chickpeas and chard, savoy cabbage or spinach, for example.
Remove the seeds from bell peppers and cut into 5 mm wide strips. We have explained how to do this easily here. Onions are peeled, halved and cut across the fibres into strips of the same width. Then the vegetables are slowly cooked in plenty of olive oil (as always, the quantities are given at the end) over a medium heat for about 30 minutes. You only need to stir occasionally.
During this time, we wash and dice tomatoes. We remove the slightly harder stalk.
Then the vegetables are seasoned with pimentón, a good pinch of salt and some ground black pepper, the tomatoes are stirred in and everything is gently cooked for a further 5 minutes.
A glass of white wine is added and the temperature is raised to medium-high heat. The vegetables cook for another 10 minutes, during which the alcohol evaporates.
Finally, we strain the vegetables through a sieve and collect the flavoured oil in a bowl.
While the vegetables are cooking, we pierce a small hole in the thick end of eggs to prevent them from bursting and boil them for 8 minutes until almost hard. The boiled eggs are rinsed in cold water so that they can be easily peeled later. Tinned tuna is placed in a sieve to drain off the oil and then cut into small pieces with fingers or a fork.
Then the cooked vegetables, the chopped eggs and the tuna are roughly mixed together – and the filling is ready.
Now it’s time to make the dough. If, like us, you want to use the flavoured oil for this, you will have to wait until this point, which of course significantly extends the preparation time. If you’re in a hurry, prepare the dough with fresh oil in advance and use less of it for the vegetables.
In a large bowl, the yeast is dissolved in 250 ml of warm water. Flour, salt and oil are then added. Everything is mixed together thoroughly, either by hand or using a food processor. As soon as all the ingredients have combined, it is kneaded for about 10 minutes by hand or for 3 – 4 minutes with the machine until the dough can be formed into a smooth ball.
The bowl is covered airtight, for example with kitchen foil, and the dough is placed in a warm place to rest for an hour. During this time, the dough will increase in volume, but will not double in size due to the oil.
The oven can now be preheated to 200 degrees Celsius (without fan).
We place the dough on a floured work surface, flatten it into a rectangle and also flour the top.
The oil makes this dough very easy to work with. Using a rolling pin, we quickly roll out the dough to just over twice the size of a baking tray and to a thickness of 3 – 4 mm.
Then we place a sheet of baking paper on a flat baking tray and half of the rolled out dough on it. The filling is spread evenly over this surface, leaving the edges free.
Now we place the rest of the dough over the filling and cut off the excess, which will be used for decoration. The empanada is already closed on one side. We start at one corner and close the rest by folding a piece of the edge of the dough from bottom to top with thumb and forefinger and pressing firmly. We continue to work along the edge of the dough in this way.
The excess dough is cut into thin strips and our empanada is decorated a little. Finally, we make holes in the dough to allow steam to escape and prevent the empanada from puffing up. We also decorate these holes with a ring made from the remaining dough.
The empanada is brushed with beaten egg for a nice colour and shine. Then we bake it in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes and this beauty is done.
And may the taste be with you.
Ingredients (for one baking tray / 6 people):
For the filling:
150 ml olive oil
3 red peppers
2 large or 3 medium onions
2 large or 3 medium tomatoes
1 teaspoon of pimentón de la vera (smoked paprika powder)
Salt and black pepper
200 ml white wine
200 g tinned tuna
2 hard-boiled eggs
For the pastry:
500 g wheat flour (type 550)
3 g dry yeast or 20 g fresh yeast
1 tsp salt
100 ml oil (from the filling)
1 egg to brush