This Weekend, Make a Batch of Flaky Empanadillas Gallegas

Chef Katie Button shares her recipe on this week’s episode of Chefs at Home.

Empanadillas Gallegas
Photo: Whitney Anderson

If you've been keeping up with our latest installment of Chefs at Home, you know there's a lot you can do with sofrito. Chef Katie Button has already used the slow-cooked, incredibly flavorful vegetable base to make two dishes, Pescado con Sofrito and Arroz con Cosas—and she's got one more up her sleeve. This week, she's taking us to Galicia with Empanadillas Gallegas, which are a smaller, hand-held version of the traditional Empanada Gallega. The latter was the first empanada she had in Spain.

"It's one of the best bites that I've ever had," she says.

Packed with tuna, hard-boiled egg, and chopped olives all held together in a flaky crust, the empanadas (and empanadilla version) make a hearty, satisfying meal. Read on for Button's step-by-step method and follow along with the video below so you can make them at home.

First Things First—Make Your Dough

These beautiful, savory empanadillas begin with a simple dough made of all-purpose flour, kosher salt, egg, water, and grated frozen lard. It comes together in three stages—first, the base dough is mixed together by hand, which includes everything but the lard. After it rests covered for a few minutes, you roll the dough into a rectangle and sprinkle the grated lard in the middle, folding the dough over the lard like a letter so it's encased. Roll out the dough into a rectangle again and repeat the folding. After that, wrap the dough and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes, or overnight if you're not in a time crunch.

The last step is to roll the dough out one! more! time! into a rectangle so you can cut it out into rounds. Each round will become an empanadilla. Be sure to freeze them for at least 10 minutes before filling.

Stir Together Your Filling

For the empanadilla filling, you'll need canned tuna in olive oil (drained), a coarsely chopped hard-boiled egg, pitted and chopped black olives, salt, and of course, your sofrito. Mix everything together in a bowl, season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste, and then get ready to assemble your empanadillas.

Fill, Seal, Crimp, and Brush

Grab the dough circles out of the freezer and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Divide the filling among each, and be generous here—Button says you want to fill them as much as you can while still leaving enough room to fully seal them without ripping the dough. Fold the dough circle over the filling to form a half moon shape and seal everything in by pressing with your fingertips. Use a fork to crimp the edges, and then brush the empanadillas with egg wash so they get crispy and shiny in the oven.

Bake and Serve

Bake the empanadillas at 450°F for about 15 minutes until they're a deep golden brown color—be sure to rotate the pan halfway through so they cook evenly. Then, transfer them to a wire rack and allow them to cool slightly before you take a bite.

"They're my favorite empanada, and these look perfect," Button says after they come out of the oven.

Stay tuned for our next episode of Chefs at Home featuring Josh Reisner.

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