One dish I like to make with my family and friends is empanadas. There are several types of empanada recipes throughout Latin America and Spain, some sweet, some savory. I have yet to eat an empanada, though, that wasn’t delicious! My friend Carla taught me how to make empanadas when I was working with her in Barcellona, a few years back. Empanadas are standard fare in most bars and restaurants, served as delicious tapas with a copa de cerveza (beer) or as the main meal. The following is a wonderful recipe from the north-east of Spain, but depending on where empanadas are prepared, the recipe is slightly different. Their recipe requires a few ingredients and some time, but they are not difficult to make.
1 egg, beaten
3/4 lb of pork loin, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp bittersweet smoked paprika (Pimentón de la Vera)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 cup piquillo peppers, sliced
3 onions, chopped
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
1 lb yeast pastry or bread dough
1 large red pepper, chopped
2 hard boiled eggs
Put the sliced pork in a dish with paprika, 1 tbsp of the chopped garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, and let sit for 30 minutes. Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the pork very quickly, removing slices as they are browned. In the same oil, saute the chopped peppers, onions and remaining garlic until softened. Add the prepared tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper and cook until the tomatoes are reduced and the sauce is very thick.
Divide the dough in half. On a floured board, roll out to a thickness of 1/4 – 1/2 inch. Line a cake tin with dough. Spread this with half the prepared sauce. Arrange the slices of pork loin on top and add a layer of piquillo pimentos above that. Slice the boiled eggs and layer above other ingredients. Spoon on the remaining sauce.
Roll out the rest of the dough and cover the pie. Crimp the edges together and trim the excess. Make a hole in the center for a steam vent. Put in a medium hot oven for 30 minutes. Brush the top with beaten egg and bake another 15-20 minutes. The crust should be golden and crispy. Empanadas can be served hot or cool.