Thursday, November 26, 2009
Empanada Gallega de Atun
Ever since I enjoyed my first tuna-filled Galician turnover, empanada gallega, on a hillside picnic about an hour's drive from Madrid last Spring - in a lovely company of Ximena and her hubby J - I've been wanting to make these at home. I have been waiting for Ximena's special recipe to appear on Lobstersquad (soon!), but meanwhile I came up with this version of the famous Spanish pastry. I must admit I was thoroughly satisfied with the result - and I hope that my Spanish friends approve.
Basically, it's a yeast pastry (tinged slightly red with the help of the very special and wonderful smoked Spanish paprika powder, Pimentón de la Vera) that's encasing a moist and flavoursome tuna, egg and tomato filling. Although we had small turnovers on that memorable hillside picnic - empanadillas gallegas - then it's more traditional to make one large pie that's cut into wedges.
Empanada Gallega de Atun or Galician Tuna Pie
Serves six to eight
500 g plain flour
300 ml warm water (42 C)
100 g olive oil
1 sachet of active dry yeast
1 tsp smoked mild Spanish paprika (Pimentón de la Vera, dulce)
1 tsp salt
2 cans of tuna chunks in brine (a 200 g), drained and flaked
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
200 g chopped tomatoes (half a regular can)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
a handful of chopped fresh parsley
salt, black pepper and smoked paprika powder, to taste
First, prepare the yeast dough. Mix flour, active dry yeast, paprika powder and salt in the mixing bowl. Stir in the water and oil and mix and knead until a uniform ball forms. (I use my KA mixer for this). Cover with clingfilm or a clean kitchen towel and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour.
For the filling, you start with sofrito. Heat olive oil on a sauté pan, add onion and bell pepper and sauté for a few minutes. Add garlic, sauté for another few minutes. Then add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper. Simmer on a low heat for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and the sauce has thickened a little.
Season with smoked paprika powder, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in drained and flaked tuna, chopped hard-boiled eggs and parsley.
Divide the yeast pastry into two more or less equal pieces. Dust your worktop with some flour and using the rolling pin, roll one piece into a large circle, about 5 mm thick. Transfer onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Spread the tuna, egg and tomato filling on top, leaving about 2 cm edge.
Roll out the other half of the pastry, place that over the filling. Crimp the edges together (see below).
Using a sharp small knife, cut couple of "breathing holes" on top of the pastry.
Brush with a whisked egg.
Bake in the middle of pre-heated 200 C oven for about 30 minutes, until the empanada is lovely golden brown on top.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little before cutting into wedges and serving.