Empanada Gallega is a large savory pie from Galicia, Spain, traditionally stuffed with tuna, hard-boiled eggs, and chopped olives. Chef Katie Button makes small hand-held versions, empanadillas, and mixes the filling with sofrito, an aromatic vegetable base of long-cooked tomatoes, onions, and garlic. She wraps it up in a pastry dough enriched with lard, which she says makes an incredibly flaky crust. Freezing the lard and then grating it allows you to easily incorporate it into the dough without it melting, and results in more flaky, puffy layers of pastry in each bite.

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Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

active:
1 hr 30 mins
total:
1 hr 30 mins
other-time:
plus 1 1/2 hours for resting
Servings:
6
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Ingredients

For the sofrito:
For the dough:
For the filling and assembly:

Directions

Make the sofrito:
  • Cut tomatoes in half crosswise (not through core). Place a box grater in a large bowl. Grate tomatoes, cut side against the coarse side of the grater, until only skin remains; discard skin. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of grated tomatoes with juices.

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  • In a large skillet, heat grapeseed and olive oils over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, adding more oil if onions are sticking, about 15 minutes. Form a well in center of the onions. Add the garlic to well and cook, stirring often, until slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Mix garlic into onions.

  • Add grated tomato and cook, stirring occasionally at first, then often during the last 15 minutes or so, until all the liquid has evaporated, mixture is reduced by 3/4 and is deeply red and caramelized, and you begin to see a separation of oil from the vegetables, 30 to 40 minutes. Add a splash of water to skillet to loosen any bits from the bottom of the pan and stir until evaporated. Let cool.

  • Set 3 tablespoons sofrito aside for the empanadillas. Divide remaining 3/4 cup sofrito into smaller portions in freezer-safe containers or an ice cube tray. Refrigerate or freeze for later use.

Make the dough:
  • In a large bowl, whisk flour and salt. Form a well in center of the dry ingredients and add water and egg. Whisk water and egg together, then, using one hand, gradually mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until it becomes a homogenous ball. Cover with a damp towel or piece of plastic wrap and let dough rest for 10 minutes.

  • Roll dough into a rectangle about 12x8. Scatter lard in the middle of rectangle and fold both shorter sides over to encase lard like you are folding a letter. Roll dough out again to about 12x8 and repeat folding like a letter. Wrap dough and  refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.

  • Roll out dough to a 12 by 12-inch rectangle and cut out four 5-inch rounds. Gather remaining dough and knead together. Roll out and cut out 2 more rounds. Freeze rounds for at least 10 minutes before using.

Make the filling and assemble:
  • In a medium bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons sofrito, tuna, olives and egg; season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pastry rounds on baking sheet and divide filling among pastry rounds. Fold each pastry round over and press with your fingertips to seal, then press again with the tines of a fork (you could freeze at this point for later). Arrange on baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Brush with egg wash. Bake empanadas until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly before serving.

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