Galician Flat pies with a Tuna Filling

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 reason for this is that you could quite easily argue that technically there is no such thing as Spanish food and the reason being for this is that Spain is an amalgam of its constituent parts that is to say it could be described as a political construct which is made up of disparate groups with their own languages, cultures, cuisines etc. These autonomous regions have been slowly amalgamated through a number of different processes throughout history but have all kept their own distinctive features.

The number of autonomous different regions that form what we would nowadays refer to as Spain is 17; they all have their own linguistic variations of the language, in some cases it’s a different sub language entirely and as well as their own cultures most definitely have their own individual cuisines.

One of those autonomous regions comprises the north-western province of Galicia. Galicia is surrounded on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean and it is pretty understandable to think that for a region that has such an involvement with the sea, its cuisine would also be heavily influenced by the sea.

The above having been said not all of Galicia’s finest recipes are all seafood based and the region can lay claim to quite a variety of dishes all of which are most definitely worth investigating further.

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

Today we are going to take a look at an Empanada, a Galician Flat Pie but in this case we are going to add a Tuna filling to it.

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”.
½ 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.

Now we turn on attention to getting the filling and in this particular case we are looking to take a fairly basic Tuna filling. Now for this the ingredients we will need will be as follows:

150 ml of olive oil
4 onions finely sliced
1 red pepper or finely sliced
1 green pepper or finely sliced
1 teaspoon sweet um smoked paprika
170 g of canned tuna in olive oil
3 hot boiled eggs (optionally sliced or diced)

Take the olive oil and heat it in a frying pan and then add the onions and fry until the onions are nice, soft and golden looking – almost transparent in fact.
Next add the peppers and gently fry, in fact the longer and more gently you fry these ingredients the better as you’ll end up with a much sweeter and more delicious result.

Take this mixture sprinkle the paprika on top and stir in the tuna and cook for a further two minutes. At the end of this remember season to taste if you think you need to. At the end of this if you are going to use the eggs and you don’t have to but if you are then slice them or dice them and lay them gently on top of the tuna filling that you’ve already put into the empanada and then follow the instructions below.

Next take 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.