Tuna Empanada

Galicia has many wonderful, delicious exports, but one of its finest creations has to be the empanada gallega. This gorgeous, paprika-speckled empanada pastry is filled with fish, such as tuna, in a rich tomato and pepper sauce.

Our version of the classic empanada gallega is filled with tuna and hard-boiled eggs, but once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, why not branch out into cod, sardine and even octopus empanada! We love tuna because it breaks down into the rich tomato sauce, and it’s more economical than other types of fish.

The tuna and tomato filling sets fairly firmly, making the empanada perfectly portable and an excellent addition to any picnic. We also love small slices of empanada with a cold beer, so plan ahead and add a tuna empanada to your next dinner party!


Ingredients (serves 8)

(Pastry ingredients)

400g plain white flour
25g quick action yeast
1tsp paprika (sweet/spicy/smoked – your choice!)
a pinch of salt
250ml warm water
50g olive oil
(Filling ingredients)
2 small onions
2tbsp olive oil
2 peppers ( we used red and yellow, but you could also use red and green)
3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
2 200g tins tuna
2 hard boiled eggs
1 tin of tomatoes made into tomate frito (fried tomato)
(Empanada assembly ingredients)
olive oil
1 egg
1. Place the flour, yeast, paprika and salt in a large bowl. Mix well.
2. Make a dip in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the warm water and olive oil. Mix well with your hands until it forms a ball of dough. You may need to add more flour if the mixture is too wet, or more water if the mixture is too dry.
3. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave the dough in a warm area for an hour until well risen. While the pastry is rising, put together the empanada filling.
4. For the filling, dice the onions very small and add to a large saucepan with the olive oil. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add the finely chopped peppers, minced garlic, salt and pepper and cook for a few more minutes, stirring well. Then add the tuna and mix well so that no large chunks of tuna remain.
5. Cook for around 10 minutes on a low heat until the onions and peppers are soft. Finely chop the hard boiled eggs and add to the filling along with your fried tomato. Mix well and cook for a few more minutes. The filling should be quite firm. If it is runny, continue to cook until most of the liquid has reduced.
6. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and leave the filling to cool for 30 minutes.
7. Grease a large baking tray with olive oil. Divide the risen dough into two balls of equal size. Roll out the first ball until it is slightly larger than the baking tray. Place the sheet of dough onto the baking tray.
8. Pour the tuna filling on top of the sheet of dough in the baking tray and spread the filling out until it evenly covers the entire tray.
9. Roll out the second ball of dough until it is the same size as the tray. (Put aside a small amount of dough for decoration if you wish.) Place the second sheet of pastry on top of the filling. Cut off any pastry that hangs over the sides. Seal the sides of the empanada by pressing and rolling the top and bottom layers of pastry together. We decorated the top of our empanada with thin strips of pastry, but find more design inspiration here and here. Beat the egg and brush lightly over the top of the empanada.
10. Bake your empanada in a preheated oven at 150 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot or cold, whatever you prefer!

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