According to Foodimentary @ Twitter, April 8 was the National Empanada Day. So immediately I took out the recipe journal my Aunt Toñita gave me as a present a few weeks ago with her favorite recipes in which she included my grandmother’s Empanada Gallega recipe and got busy in the kitchen.
Empanada means to coat or wrap in bread. Immigrants form Galicia and Portugal brought this recipe to America. You can find many variations. This dish is a hybrid between a pie and sandwich. My version is more like a sandwich because the dough is thick like bread, but I have seen thiner empanadas like a pie. You may substitute the meat filling with stir-fry veggies or with a tuna, pork loin or chicken filling. It is nice to have for lunch or to take on a picnic because it is best eaten at room temperature. Olé!
1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
1/2 tsp salt
3 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
5 tbs softened butter
2 1/2 cups of “picadillo” recipe
1. To activate yeast for dough, mix warm water, sugar and yeast and let it rest until bubbles form on top (about 15 minutes). I do it in my Kitchen Aid stand up mixer bowl.
2. Meanwhile, in another bowl mix the salt with the flour.
3. Beat eggs and butter with yeast mixture.
4. Add flour to liquids and mix with dough hook or by hand to make a soft dough ball that is not sticky (add more flour if it is too sticky).
5. Knead by hand for a few minutes.
6. Let dough rise in a bowl big enough for it to double in size. I drizzle a bit of olive oil in the bowl so that the dough doesn’t stick. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm, dry, draft free area for 1-1 1/2 hour.
7. Pre heat oven 375º f. Punch down and knead the dough for about a minute. Split the dough into two, one piece for the bottom and one for the top or “lid” of the empanada.
8. Shape each piece of dough into the shape of the baking mold with your knuckles (for a more rustic look) or a rolling pin. I use an 11×8 inches rectangular pyrex crystal pan.
9. Place the lower portion of the dough in the mold.
10. Add ground beef picadillo (at room temperature) and spread evenly with a spoon.
11. Place top portion of the dough. Push rim down with a fork and make a hole in the middle to let out steam while it bakes.
12. Let empanada rest for about 15 minutes before going into oven.
13. Just before putting in the oven, brush the top with egg wash.
14. Bake in middle rack until golden brown.