Patri of the blog, Asi Son Los Cosas, was our September 2012 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she decided to tempt us with one of her family’s favorite recipes for Empanadas! We were given two dough recipes to choose from and encouraged to fill our Empanadas as creatively as we wished!
Yeah, let's be spanish for a change, and it happens to be a region of Spain I've been before: Galicia! I find a certain comfort in typical southern dishes, and this one has been no exception. Anything in a bread dough works for me, and given the chance to experiement with it was a lot of fun.
I've done one with ground beef, tomatoes and carrot, aswell as a small one (with leftover dough) with red bell pepper and goat cheese. But I prefered this version with swiss chard. As the proportion were given for 10 people(!!!) I took the liberty to divide it in half, and it got me thru a couple of meals. I'm keeping this one on my list, and will have to try a sweet version at some point.
Empanada Gallega with Swiss Chard, Parmesan and Almonds
375gr of bread flour
240ml of lukewarm water (about 85°F/30ºC), approximately
1 satchel (1 tablespoon) (15 gm) dry yeast or (1 oz) (30 gm) fresh yeast
1 teaspoon (10 ml) (11 gm) salt
2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil (you can use oil from the pan where you have cooked the filling)
1 large egg, for egg wash
- Measure out all the ingredients.
- Shift the flour into a big bowl and make a well in the middle. Rub the yeast in with your fingers.
- In a small bowl, mix the water and the salt.
- Now, using your fingers or a wooden spoon, start adding the water and mixing it with the flour-yeast mixture. Keep on working with your fingers or spoon until you have added enough water and all the flour has been incorporated and you have a messy ball of dough.
- On a clean counter top, knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes
- You could do all the above using a stand mixer, in that case mix the ingredients with the paddle attachment until mixed and then switch to a dough hook and knead on low for about 6 minutes.
- Clean and oil the big bowl you used for mixing and place the kneaded dough in it. Cover it with a napkin or piece of linen and keep it in a warm, draught-free place for approximately 40 to 50 minutes.
- Once risen, turn the dough back into a floured counter and cut it in half. Cover one half with the napkin to prevent drying.
- Spread the other half of the dough using a rolling pin. You can use a piece of wax paper over the counter, it will make it easier to move the dough around. Depending on the shape of your oven pan or cookie sheet, you will make a rectangle or a round.
- Now, the thinness of the dough will depend on your choice of filling and how much bread you like in every bite. For your first time, make it about 3mm thin (about 1/10th of an inch) and then adjust from that in the next ones you make.
Filling Ingredients1 Swiss Chard
2 Small Onions
1 Clove of Garlic
100gr of Parmesan, freshly grated
50gr of Almonds, chopped
- Clean the leaves of the swiss chard, separate the white from the green. Chop the white into pieces of about 1/2 a cm thick, clean again and set aside. Same with the green leaves, chop them up about the same size and set them aside too.
- In a big pan, on a medium heat, warm up some olive oil. Add the onions cut into half moons and with a bit of salt, cook them for about 2 to 3 minutes before adding the white part of the chard. Stir every now and then, and cook this for about 10 minutes.
- You can now add the green part of the chard aswell as the crushed clove of garlic, and like spinach it will reduce greatly, keep stiring until most the water steams out of it. When everything is well combined, take it off the heat.
- Away from the fire, add the freshly grated parmesan, the chopped almonds and stir to combine well. Taste to check for seasoning, add salt or pepper if needed. Set aside to cool down
Assembling the empanada:
- If you haven’t used wax paper, either lightly flour or line with wax paper your pan or tray.
- Cover the base and sides with the dough. Using the rolling pin or a knife, cut the extra dough.
- Place the filling, making sure it is cold and that all the base is covered. Using a hot filling will make the bottom layer of the empanada become soggy. Be careful to avoid adding too much oil from the filling, try to make it as “dry” as possible.
- Start preheating your oven to moderate 350°F/180ºC/gas mark 4.
- Take the other half of the dough and spread it out to the same or less thinness of the base. You can use a piece of wax paper for this too. Take into account that this “top” dough needs to be smaller around than the bottom, as it only needs to cover the filling.
- If not using wax paper, move carefully the top to cover the filling. If using wax paper, transfer the dough, turn upside down, cover the filling and gently peel off the wax paper.
- Using your fingers, join bottom and top dough, when you have gone all the way around, start pinching top and bottom together with your thumb and index finger and turning them half way in, that way you end up with a rope-like border. As a picture is worth a thousand words, please watch this video to see how it is done: http://youtu.be/CNpB7HkTdDk
- When you are finished, make a 1 inch hole in the middle of the top layer. This will help hot air exit the empanada while it’s baking without breaking the cover.
- You can use left-over dough to decorate the empanada, using rounds, bows, lines… let your imagination flow and make it pretty!
- Using a fork, prick the top layer or, using scissors, make snips that go all the way through the top layer.
- In a small bowl, beat an egg and add a tbsp of cold water. With the pastry brush, paint the top of the empanada with the egg wash.
- Place the empanada in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. Check that the bottom part is done.