Empanada Gallega - Vegetable And Tuna Pie From Galicia In Spain

Though we tend to think of an empanada as a kind of turnover, in Galicia, Spain, it’s a kind of pie made with a yeast dough enriched with olive oil. Fillings may vary, but this one of onions, bell peppers, olives, and tuna is a popular one. In Spain, this is usually made in a square or rectangular pan, but you can use a square or round tart pan. You’ll have some scraps of dough left after lining the pan and covering the filling with the top crust—make some breadsticks and bake them on a cornmeal-dusted pan on an upper rack while you’re baking the empanada.

Makes one 9- or 10-inch empanada, 8 servings

Empanada Dough

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3/4 cup room temperature tap water, about 75°F

2 1/4 teaspoons fine granulated active dry or instant yeast

1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing

1 large egg


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium white onions, about 1 pound total, peeled, halved, and cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 medium red bell peppers or pimentos, halved, stemmed, and seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/2 cup green Spanish olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

Two 5-ounce cans tuna packed in oil, well drained and flaked

2 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

Salt, if necessary

One 9-inch square or 10-inch round tart pan with removable bottom, ungreased

  1. For the dough, mix the flour with the sugar and salt and set aside.

  2. Whisk the water and yeast together in the bowl of an electric mixer, then whisk in the oil and egg. Use a large rubber spatula to stir in the flour mixture.

  3. Place the bowl on a mixer fitted with the dough hook and beat on lowest speed until fairly smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove the dough from the mixer and knead it for a minute.

  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn it so that the top is oiled. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough ferment until it doubles in bulk, 30 to 45 minutes.

  5. For the filling, fill a wide sauté pan with the oil and add the onions and peppers. Place on medium heat and wait until the vegetables start to sizzle. Toss, decrease the heat to medium low, and cook, tossing occasionally, until soft, about 20 minutes. Off heat, stir in the olives, tuna, and eggs. Taste for seasoning and add pepper and salt, if needed, though it may not be.

  6. Scrape the filling to a thin layer on a large plate or metal pan covered with plastic wrap and chill while you roll the dough.

  7. Set a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 425˚F.

  8. Scrape the dough from the bowl to a floured surface and gently press to deflate. Divide the dough into two pieces, one of which is slightly larger than the other. Flour the surface, form the large piece of dough into a rough disk without folding it over on itself, and roll it to a 12- to 13-inch square (or disk if using a round pan). Fold the dough in half and transfer the dough to the pan, lining up the fold with the diameter of the pan. Unfold the dough into the pan and press it well against the bottom and side of the pan, letting the excess dough extend over the edge of the pan.

  9. Scrape the cooled filling into the lined pan and spread it evenly.

  10. Roll the remaining piece of dough to an 11- or 12-inch square or disk and center it on the filling. Use your fingertips to press the two layers of dough together, then use scissors to cut away all but 1/4 inch of the excess dough. Pull a piece of the overhanging dough upward and fit it into the space between the edges of the pan and the side of the crust all around to make a flat top on the calzone.

  11. Cut 3 or 4 vent holes in the top crust and brush with olive oil.

  12. Bake the empanada until it is deep golden and firm, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before serving, or cool completely and serve at room temperature.

  13. To unmold, stand the tart pan on a wide base, such as a large can of tomatoes, and let the side of the pan fall away. Slide the empanada to a cutting board or platter to serve.