Today is National Empanada Day – Who Knew?

By Ethan Comment

It seems like there’s a holiday for every day of the year and I’m going to try to find a way to relate them back to publishing. Today’s installment will give you an idea of what to make for dinner courtesy of the The Gourmet Cookbook. And while the cookbook was sixty years in the making, today’s dish only takes about 45 minutes to make (although you’ll be best off marinating the pork for up to 8 hours so you might want to consider making this tomorrow).

Here’s what Ruth Reichl and her staff have to say about the tasty tapas:

In Spain’s Galicia region, innumerable tapas bars serve small plates of seafood in vinaigrettes, tiny green peppers, and portions of big round fish or meat empanadas. This Galician tapa was created by Penelope Casas, a renowned authority on Spanish food. It makes a great first course, and it would be a terrific addition to a buffet party as well.

recipe after the jump.

Pork and Bell Pepper Pie
Empanada de Lomo de Cerdo


1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 tablespoon sweet paprika, preferably Spanish
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
6 tablespoons olive oil, preferably Spanish
1 (3/4-pound) piece boneless lean pork loin, trimmed, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices and then into 1/8-inchwide strips
2 medium onions, quartered and thinly sliced into strips
2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Empanada Dough (recipe follows)
1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash

Combine thyme, oregano, paprika, saffron, parsley, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) oil in a medium bowl. Add pork and toss to coat. Marinate pork, covered and refrigerated, for at least 3 hours.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Add onions and bell peppers and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to moderately low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to a plate.
Increase heat to moderately high, add pork and marinade to skillet, and cook, stirring, until pork is no longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vegetables, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Let cool for 30 minutes.
Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 15-by-10-inch rectangle. Turn it over and brush off any excess flour. Position dough with a short side nearest you and fold into thirds like a letter to form a rough 10-by-5-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle crosswise in half. Turn both squares of dough over and brush off excess flour. Roll out each piece into a 14- inch square and, using a platter or large lid as a guide, cut out a 14-inch round from each square of dough.
Lightly brush a baking sheet with water. Transfer 1 dough round to baking sheet and top it with pork mixture, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Put remaining round on top and press edges together to seal. Crimp edges decoratively. Cut several slits in top of pastry with a small sharp knife and lightly brush pastry with egg wash.
Put empanada in oven, reduce heat to 350 degrees F, and bake until golden, about 45 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Cut empanada into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

cook’s note
The pork can marinate for up to 8 hours.

Empanada Dough


This is a very tender, flaky dough. It’s made by repeatedly spreading a flour-and-egg dough with shortening or lard, folding it, and rolling it out like puff pastry.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 large egg yolks
3/4 cup cold water
5 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 cup vegetable shortening or lard, softened

Stir together flour and salt in a large bowl. Lightly beat yolks in a small bowl, then stir in water and vinegar. Stir into flour mixture.
Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently with heel of your hand until it forms a dough, then shape into a ball. Let dough stand at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, for 30 minutes.
Roll out dough on lightly floured surface into a 15- by-10-inch rectangle. If necessary, turn dough so a short side is nearest you. Spread 1/3 cup shortening evenly over it with a rubber spatula, then fold into thirds like a letter to form a rough 10-by-5-inch rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Roll out dough into a 15-by-10-inch rectangle again, then spread half of remaining shortening evenly over it and fold dough in same manner. Refrigerate again for 15 minutes.
Repeat procedure a third time with remaining 1/3 cup shortening and refrigerate dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, for at least 1 hour.

cook’s notes
This dough is very soft, but it can tighten during the final rolling and become difficult to work with. If that happens, put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and refrigerate for 15 minutes before rolling.
The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. It can also be frozen, wrapped well in plastic wrap, then foil, for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours, still wrapped, before using.