Empanada Gallega

Lots of places are known for their own twist on making empanadas.  We didn't know that Galicia was one of them.  In fact, it's apparently the birthplace of them.  According to Wikipedia, the name comes from the Spanish verb empanar, which means to wrap in bread.

We were driving between Asturias and Galicia, and stopped in a small town along the way.  Needing to pick up a few groceries, (a fun task for us when we travel overseas), we stopped in a Spar market across from a lovely, tree-shaded municipal parking lot.

We gathered water and the few other things we needed.  And spotted some cheese unique to the area, also.

Queixo Tetilla : Breast Cheese!

Realizing we'd be in the middle of nowhere around lunch time, we grabbed a freshly-made Empanada Gallego near the checkout at the last moment.  Wrapped in a wax paper bag, the empanada was still warm from the oven.  The store had already sold most types, like tuna and chorizo.  Ours was pito, aka, chicken.  And, as usual, a regret:  we didn't get a photo of our empanada from the Spar market (our fingers were a bit oily from eating it with our hands).

Along our drive, we saw no appealing picnic spots, so we ended up stopping at a gas station (with small restaurant, ironically, pictured) to eat our empanada standing outside our car.  (Needless to say, we don't require a fancy dining experience.)  Our little rental car is parked over by the trees.

The empanada was really good.  And huge - we definitely couldn't eat the whole thing.  I knew when we got home, I needed to try to make one.

Scouring the internet when we came back, I found two recipes that seemed to contain ingredients like the empanada we had.  It turned out both recipes were pretty similar.

The first was from Jose Made In Spain.  The other was from Three Many Cooks.

I ended up making my own dough in the bread machine.  It was a snap that way.  Hard to see in the photo, but the paprika gave it a nice, rich color.

I used three bone-in chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken, and it made an enormous amount -- enough for two big empanadas!  I sautéed the pepper and garlic mixture and added in the tomato and chicken.  I also used way less olive oil than the 1/2 cup in the recipe.

The other change I made, just because it was what I had on hand, was using Pom-brand boxed tomatoes instead of fresh.  I think this made it a little more tomato-y / saucy than should have been, (I'm also bad about measuring), but it was still good.  I spread the filling on the dough and covered it up and crimped the edges.  Next, I brushed the dough with an egg wash and poked the top all over with a fork.

After a short time in the oven, this is what we had:

And guess what -- the empanadas were maybe yummier than what we got in Spain.

I'll definitely be making this one again.  It was a treat to recreate a memorable meal from our visit to Galicia.