“I celebrate food every day, it’s sustains us and forms who we are.”
John-Bryan Hopkins

Empanada Gallega It was the 27th and my mind was singing Empanada Gallegaonly that procrastinating got the better of me this time around. It’s the Daring Baker time of the month, and this time I got deluged with work. Not that I didn’t do the challenge; I didn’t draft the post in time. From Filled Pate a Choux Swans last month to savoury pies in September, the journey gets more delicious every month.

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!

Empanada GallegaI was instantly attracted to the origin and inspiration behind these charming little pies. The story so beautifully and poetically narrated by Patri, it played in my mind as a film. In her words …Empanada GallegaEmpanada Gallega

My grandparents lived in a country house that my great-grandfather built a hundred years ago. It is in the northwest of Spain, right on top of Portugal, in the region called Galicia. Back in the 70s, the kitchen was the place of gathering, talking, reading… and there was always something cooking on the iron stove, be it a pot of caldo (a hearty soup), or a stew, or a cake in the oven. When I think back to those days, I can smell the sweetness of burnt wood or coal, the almost “chocolate” scent that rose up to your nostrils when you opened the door, the warmth of the air when coming in from a cool, windy and wet August morning…

Empanada Gallega  I knew instantly that I would be making these! The dough was ready in next to no time. I made the whole recipe for dough and have to say there was a LOT of dough! {I substituted a little bit of plain flour with whole wheat}. You can make one large pie, or many small ones. The dough lasted 3 days {keeps well in the fridge}. On day three I made Turkish pizzas with it. Wonderful stuff!

An empanada{or empada, in Portuguese} is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries in Western Europe, Latin America, and parts of Southeast Asia. The name comes from the Galician, Portuguese and Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread.

Empanada GallegaIt’s an easy dough to use, and the recipe is interesting. You roll out the dough and use it like a pastry dough for pie, a larger portion for the bottom. Place it in your baking dish with a rim {step by step here}. Top with filling and cover with a smaller portion of rolled out dough and seam the edges. The amount of dough you use it up to you entirely. Since I’m trying {read desperately} to cut back on carbs these days, I rolled the dough really thin. It worked like a charm!Empanada GallegaAs Patri says, Empanada is the kind of food that makes one go back to childhood. A bread-like dough that surrounds a vegetable frittata with anything you can imagine, from sardines to beef. Or filled with sugar, butter and fruit. Warm or cold, it was simple, pretty, and delicious.Empanada GallegaThe amazing thing is that almost every region in the world has an empanada sort of preparation whether it be the curry puff from Malaysia, samosa and  gujiya from India, calzones from Italy, meat pies from Ghana, börek from Turkey, kibbeh from Lebanon … and plenty more! {‘Plenty’ reminds me of Ottolenghis new book ‘Jerusalem‘ that Shulie just shouted out about! Another winner, another cookbook on the wishlist. Sigh} Empanada GallegaI made a portion of lamb filled empanada galettas  as well {with the same lamb filling from the Lamb Purslane Pides aka Turkish pizza}. This is a handy basic empanada recipe and makes for great food on the go. Make one large empanada galletta or small ones, even petit work well in a muffin tray maybe, or in ramekins.Empanada Gallega

Do stop by here and check out some the amazing empanada galletas that will make you instantly crave pie! Thank you Patri for sharing your delicious childhood memories and recipe with us. Thank you as always Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!!


Recipe: Empanada Gallega your picture

Summary: A bread-like dough that surrounds a filling with just about anything you can imagine, from mushrooms, mince and cheese. Or filled with sugar, butter and fruit. Warm or cold, it’s simple, pretty, and delicious.

Servings: 10 {makes a 40cmx30cm square empanada / a 35cm diameter round empanada or 8-10 4″ round pies like I made.} Minimally adapted from here

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

  • Empanada Gallega Dough
  • 650g plain flour
  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 480ml lukewarm water
  • 17g / 1 1/4 tbsp instant yeast
  • 10g / 2tsp salt
  • 60ml oil
  • 1 large egg for wash
  • Filling
  • 500g chicken mince
  • 100g / 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1-2 tbsp dried herbs , or fresh
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 4 small eggplants, chopped fine
  • 200g mushrooms, chopped fine
  • 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 200gm mozzarella, grated
  • 2 tsp olive oil


  1. Empanada Gallega Dough
  2. Sift both flour into a big bowl and make a well in the middle. Rub the yeast in with your fingers.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the water and the salt.
  4. 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.
  5. On a clean counter top, knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes
  6. Stand mixer
  7. Mix the ingredients with the paddle attachment until mixed and then switch to a dough hook and knead on low for about 6 minutes.
  8. Thermomix
  9. Place all ingredients in TM bowl and mix on speed 6 for 30 seconds, then knead for 5 minutes.
  10. 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.
  11. Once risen, turn the dough back into a floured counter and cut it in half. Cover one half with the napkin to prevent drying.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Sprinkle a little grated cheese over the bottom. Place the filling, making sure it is cold and that all the base is covered. Sprinkle a wee bit more cheese if you like. {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.}
  15. Start preheating your oven to moderate 180ºC.
  16. I lined the bases on my ramekins with parchment paper to be on the safer side.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. When you are finished, make a 1 inch hole in the middle of the top layer, {or stamp out shapes with a tiny cookie cutter}. This will help hot air exit the empanada while it’s baking without breaking the cover.
  21. 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.
  22. Place the empanada in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes for small pies and 45 minutes for a large one. Check that the bottom part is done.
  23. Let the pies cool on a cooling rack for about 20-30 minutes before trying to dislodge from pie tins/ramekins. Gently run a butterknife along the edges to ease them out.
  24. Filling
  25. Heat the olive oil in a wok and add the onions, garlic and red chili flakes {and dried herbs if using}. Sauté  over low heat until the garlic is fragrant.
  26. Add the chicken mince and roast on high flame till the mince its light golden, no longer pink {5-7 minutes}.
  27. Next add the chopped eggplant and mushrooms and sauté again over high heat until most the liquid has disappeared and the mince is quite dry.
  28. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle in the Worcestershire sauce and add fresh herbs if using. Give it all a good stir, stir until quite dry so the pastry doesn’t get soggy.  Cool completely before using as filling.
  29. Note: This makes a good chicken mince samosa filling too.


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