Try a Glorious Empanada

By: Stephen Morgan

Somehow when you do a little research on the cuisine of an individual country it is quite easy to come up almost with a common theme, a common name for the food for that country. Such as English food, German food but when you consider Spanish food or if you wish to be a bit more accurate about how you look at it, food and recipes that originate from Spain there is a very convincing argument that would say it's not that simple.

The relatively recent unification of Spain as a single political entity is really the main driving force that lies behind this theory as the country is an amalgamation of the various autonomous regions that lie within it. These autonomous regions have been slowly amalgamated through a number of different processes throughout history but have all kept their own distinctive features.

There are 17 different autonomous regions that come together to form modern-day Spain and the majority of these regions have their own cultures that is the majority of them have their own linguistic variations and in some cases different languages and they certainly have their own individual cuisines.

One of the most distinctive of the autonomous sub regions is that of Galicia which is Spain's most north-westerly region. Spain's most westerly autonomous region it is surrounded on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean and as you can imagine for a region that has so much rugged coastline a lot of Galician cuisine is very much based on seafood and seafood based recipes.

That having said not all of Galician cuisine is all seafood based and the region can lay claim to some quite gorgeous recipes and provincial dishes and are all well worth trying out.

Lets top talking about the food and get down to business. Let's eat!

Here we are going to take a look at an Empanada, a Galician Flat Pie.

The thing about an empanada is that once you have got the concept just right and you've managed to get the texture and the flour correct for the crust then you can add almost anything to it that you like. It really is one of the most versatile things going and is as it was originally designed, a meal in itself.

So the ingredients we would need would be as follows:

20 g of fresh yeast or 1 teaspoon of easy blend dried (active dry) yeast.
350 g of strong white flour.
125 g of corn meal,, "masa harina" or finely ground "polenta".
? tbsp salt
Generous 1/3 cup of white wine.
50 g of lard or vegetable fat.
8 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
Water to bind the dough
1 medium egg, lightly beaten to seal and glaze the Empanada.

Again the name of the game here is preparation. Take the yeast with about three tablespoons of hand-hot water and mix it all together to a paste. Take the flour and corn meal and pour into a large bowl and add the salt, the wine, the lard the olive oil, the egg and the yeast paste and add enough water to make it all come together into a soft but not too sticky dough.

Still this mixture well and then start to pull it together with your hands. If there is any dried flower left in the bowl and add a touch more to bring it all together. The thing to remember here is if the dough is too dry it would be too difficult to roll out thinly later on.

Take the dough and knead it together for a couple of minutes until it is smooth and well mixed. Then take the dough put it back into a bowl and cover with cling film or plastic wrap. The important bit here is that you should let the dough rise for at least an hour or until it has doubled in size.

Decide upon what filling you want to include within the empanada and bring everything together. Take out half of your dough and roll it out until it's about approximately 5 mm thick. Oil your baking sheet and lay this dough on top of it.

Next add your filling and spread the filling evenly leaving about a 2 cm margin around the age of the dough. Brush the edge of the dough with a little beaten egg.

Take the rest of you at the road at approximately the same size as your original piece and lay this on top of your filling. Take the top and the bottom pieces of dough and start to pinch the edges together and then twist the dough over to make a rope like texture around the edge.

Take the remainder of your beaten egg and brush this all over the empanada and then take a fork and pierce the top of the empanada all over with little holes.

Leave the empanada to rest for about 10 minutes and then leak this in a halt often for between 20 to 30 minutes or depending on your oven the crust is really crisp and golden.

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