I’m a big fan of long-distance walking, especially the Camino de Santiago also known as St. James Way or Jakobsweg. I’m happy I could walk the full Camino Frances (780km) and Camino Portuguese (227km) in the previous years before the corona virus broke out. Desperately missing the beautiful sceneries and the camaraderie among the pilgrims, today I made a Spanish Empanada, a large pie with various fillings from vegetables to meat, tuna, cod fish to scallops and more.

Originally from Galicia which is the northwest part of Spain, when you walk the Galician part of Camino de Santiago, you will see this pie in all cafes and restaurants. During the walk, I used to carry a piece of it in my backpack for a quick lunch or snack – and it was the most delicious thing in the world! This recipe is inspired by my mother-in-law who is originally from Galicia. She bakes this for us once in a while when she is in the mood. Every time she bakes this, she says “This time the empanada did not come out so well”, but each and every time her Empanada is perfect.

Will the world really ever get back to “normal” like pre-corona? When will I be able to get back on the way for another long walk? I don’t know the answer, but for now let’s bake an authentic Galician Empanada to cure the nostalgia.

Ingredients for one oven tray size Empanada (4 people lunch portion)

Dough

  • 500g all purpose flour
  • 20g fresh baking yeast  OR 7g dry yeast
  • 300mL room temperature water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3-4 Tablespoon olive oil

Filling

  • Veal 500g, cut into small bitesize pieces
  • 3 medium size onions chopped
  • 2 red paprikas (fresh bell peppers), chopped
  • 1 large fresh tomato diced into small pieces (or 1 Tbsp tomato paste diluted with 3 Tbsp water)
  • 4 cloves garlic pressed
  • paprika powder (for authentic flavor, use Spanish smoked paprika powder)
  • salt, pepper
  • olive oil

Egg wash: 1 egg – keep for later before baking

Steps

A. Dough prep: Let’s prepare the dough first because it takes the longest.

  1. In a large bowl put in the flour and make a hole in the center with your fingers.
  2. Add water into the hole in the center and crumble in the yeast.
  3. Add in sugar to the water
  4. Mix the water with the flour, and add in the salt and olive oil to the batch.
  5. Knead with your hand in the bowl until it becomes easier to handle. Add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky.
  6. Move the dough onto the working space. Knead for about 6-8 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and soft.
  7. Sprinkle some flour in the bowl and place the smoothly kneaded dough.
  8. Smear a light amount of olive oil on the top of the dough, cover it with a plastic film and let rest in room temperature for ca. 1 hr until the dough doubles in size.

B. Filling prep: While we are waiting for the dough to rise, let’s cook the filling.

  1. In a large frying pan drizzle 3-4 Tablespoon of olive oil. Turn the heat onto medium-high. Add in the chopped onions, diced tomatoes, red paprika, pressed garlic and stir-fry.
  2. When the onions turn transparent, add in the chopped meat and smoked paprika powder, salt and pepper. Stir while cooking. When meat is cooked, turn the heat off. Pour all the filling content over a sieve so that the water and oil from the cooking can drain. Preserve the liquid. Let the filling cool.

C. Roll out the dough, form the pie and bake

  1. Turn on the oven to 180°C with fan
  2. Divide the dough into two batches (One batch should slightly bigger than the other. Use the larger batch for the bottom of the pie)
  3. Place a baking paper on the baking tray
  4. Using a rolling pin, roll out the larger batch of the dough into a large rectangle and carefully move it onto the baking tray
  5. Spread the cooled filling on the dough, leaving 1cm around the edge
  6. Roll out the other batch of the dough and place it on top of the filling. Cut off any excess.
  7. Seal the edge of the pie by closing the edges with your fingers or pressing with a fork to close
  8. With any remaining dough, use it for decorating the pie, like adding a heart or star shape dough on the pie surface
  9. With a knife, cut out a 1cm circle in the middle of the top dough so the steam can escape while cooking
  10. Crack one egg in a bowl, whisk with a fork. Brush the surface of the pie
  11. Get the preserved liquid from Step B (drained oil from the cooked filling) and brush the surface of the pie
  12. With a fork, punch little holes on the surface of the pie so the steam can escape while baking
  13. Place the tray in the oven and bake for ca. 30min until the pie becomes golden brown
  14. Remove the pie from the oven, let cool for ca. 10 min and serve.

Tip:

  • It is easiest to use scissors to cut the Empanada into portions. Makes a perfect lunch with a portion of fresh green salad. The Empanada is also delicious when it’s cold.
  • Instead of veal, you can use other fillings like canned tuna, bacalao (salted cod) with raisins, boiled eggs and other vegetables.
  • Check out my other Spanish recipe from the Camino de Santiago: Caldo Gallego 

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