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Savouring the Delights of Spanish Empanadas
Thursday, February 29, 2024 @ 7:06 PM

Venturing into the world of Spanish cuisine brings us face to face with its tapestry of flavours, textures, and colours that speak volumes of its rich cultural heritage. Among the plethora of Spanish delicacies, the empanada stands out as a dish that captures the essence of Spanish culinary tradition with its simplicity, versatility, and sheer deliciousness. The empanada, with its origins going as far back as the Egyptians and Greeks 1600 BC, is essentially a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried, with a plethora of fillings ranging from meats to vegetables, and even sweet concoctions for those with a penchant for desserts. The word "empanada" stems from the Spanish verb "empanar", meaning to wrap or coat in bread, which eloquently hints at the preparation process of these delightful turnovers.

 

 

The Ingredients 

Creating Spanish empanadas can be a therapeutic process, allowing for personal creativity within the bounds of traditional recipes. Here, we share a classic recipe which serves as a foundation upon which you can build and modify to cater to your palate.

Ingredients for the Dough:

  • 500g plain flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 120ml water (you might need a bit more, depending on the flour)

  • 120ml olive oil or melted butter for a richer dough

  • 1 egg, for the egg wash

Ingredients for a Traditional Tuna Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tomato, peeled and diced

  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • 200g canned tuna, drained

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Chopped parsley, a handful for freshness

Feel free to adjust the quantity of the filling based on your preference or to explore other fillings.

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Making the Dough:

    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt.

    • Gradually add the water and olive oil/butter, mixing until a soft dough forms. If the dough seems dry, add a little more water.

    • Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth. Let it rest covered for about 30 minutes.

  2. Preparing the Filling:

    • Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions and red bell pepper until soft.

    • Add the garlic, stirring until fragrant, then incorporate the diced tomato and paprika. Cook until the tomato breaks down.

    • Stir in the tuna, and hard-boiled eggs, season with salt, pepper, and add the parsley. Combine well and set aside to cool.

  3. Assembling the Empanadas:

    • Preheat your oven to 200°C.

    • Roll out the dough to about 2mm thick on a floured surface. Using a round cutter or a small bowl, cut out circles.

    • Place a spoonful of the filling in the centre of each dough circle.

    • Fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape, pressing the edges together. Use a fork to crimp and seal the edges.

    • Place the empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush them with a beaten egg for a golden finish.

  4. Baking:

    • Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Let them cool slightly before serving. These empanadas are delicious warm or at room temperature, making them perfect for gatherings or a tapas-style meal.

 

 

Popular Fillings:

While the tuna filling is traditional and widely enjoyed, empanadas are celebrated for their versatility. Here are some popular variations:

  • Pork and Pepper: Pork mince cooked with a mix of spices and bell peppers, offering a succulent filling with a bit of a kick.

  • Chicken and Chorizo: A hearty combination where the smoky flavour of chorizo complements the tender chicken pieces.

  • Spinach and Cheese: Ideal for vegetarians, this combination of wilted spinach with tangy cheese like feta or goat cheese is both refreshing and satisfying.

  • Ratatouille: A delightful veggie option filled with the goodness of zucchini, eggplant, and capsicum, simmered with tomatoes and herbs.

  • Apple or Peach: Empanadas need not be savoury! A sweet filling of cinnamon-spiced apples or peaches can turn them into a delectable dessert.

Whether you stick to the traditional fillings or embark on a quest to find your unique combination, the process is as rewarding as the taste.

Their versatility makes empanadas a perfect dish for any occasion, from casual get-togethers to festive celebrations. Plus, experimenting with different fillings and dough types (including gluten-free options) can cater to a wide array of dietary preferences, making sure no one misses out on the joy of a freshly baked empanada So, roll up your sleeves and get kneading!



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1 Comments


tonyl said:
Sunday, March 3, 2024 @ 3:07 PM

Thanks for the recipe, Mac75. I'd love to have a go at it. ¿How many empanadas will these quantities make?

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