When in Galicia, the subject of food often comes to mind…
The simple and extremely delicious empanada: a classic Spanish staple…a pie consisting of bread dough with a sweet onion and paprika filling that can be augmented with tuna, meat, salt cod…Most households round here used to make it once a week in the wood oven (when the household made their bread for the week). But you still can find empanadas for sale in pretty much every bakery. Its pretty easy to make yourself though…
To make it you need: (no amounts here, just judge it by how big you want to make the pie – but you will always need a LOT of onions…)
Some good simple white bread dough
Tuna (or any kind of left over meat, or salt cod)
For the filling: (can be done the night before)
You need to chop a lot of onions and a small amount of red pepper (the onion mixture should just be flecked with the occasional red pepper). Put them in a large frying pan with plenty of olive oil (almost cover them) and cook slowly over a low heat. Do not fry them quickly, we want the onions to sweat and become transparent, absolutely NOT to become brown and crispy. When the onions have become transparent but not mushy, season with salt to taste and add plenty of Spanish sweet paprika. (please NO garlic or pepper – it does not need it!). They should look like this:
On a side note:
Don’t let any Johnny-come-lately tell you Hungarian paprika is the best!!! Spanish Paprika wins every time, it is much sweeter than its Hungarian counterpart and in my opinion has a much better flavour and an incredibly vibrant colour…
This onion mixture forms the basis for your filling…
Next roll our the base of your pie according to the size of your baking tray/dish, which you will have already oiled liberally with some of the paprika red oil from the precooked onions.
Once the dough has lined your dish, spread a generous layer of the onions, then add some tuna, or precooked meat etc…
(here we used some salt cod and raisins)
Then add another rolled out piece of dough and seal the edges. Cut a hole in the middle to let the steam out, and paint the dough with more of the red oil from the onions.
Place in a very hot oven for 15-20 minutes and then lower the temperature and cook till the pie is nice and crisp, if necessary, flip the pie over to crispen up the base too.
Sweet onions, salty fish, crispy bread crust, really simple and really good…empanada is great freshly made, but also really good at room temperature and it’s great for picnics…
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