Empanada Gallega
(Galician Pork and Pepper Pie)

Yield: 8 servings
Source: Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2002
CL Comments: A large two-crusted savory pie from Galicia, the Spanish empanada is typically filled with fish or meat, red or green peppers, and lots of onion. Substitute pizza dough if you're pressed for time, though the pastry crust is easy to make. Empanadas are best at room temperature; serve with a mixed salad for dinner.

Comments from a PA Kitchen: This was wonderful. First of all, it was pretty. I halved the recipe and made the dough into 2 8-inch circles instead of 2 13-inch circles and cut the whole thing into 4 wedges. The crusts were plenty thick this way; if I had halved it and rolled it to only a 6 1/2 inch diameter, I would have had a hard time getting all the filling in, so it's good that 8 inches worked. I noticed before putting the filling in that it needed a little extra salt, so I added that to the filling. I was a little afraid that the bottom crust would end up soggy, even though you use a slotted spoon to move it to the crust, but it didn't turn out soggy on the bottom at all. Nice and golden and not soggy in the least. The recipe called for smoked Spanish paprika or hot Hungarian. I had the hot (half-sharp) Hungarian, so I used that.

INGREDIENTS:

PORK:
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika or hot paprika
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips

DOUGH:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten

FILLING:
Cooking spray
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups thinly sliced sweet onion
2 cups red bell pepper strips
1 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup chopped Spanish serrano ham or prosciutto (about 1 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Dash of crumbled thread saffron

REMAINING INGREDIENT:
1 large egg, lightly beaten

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. To prepare the meat, combine the first 5 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag, and add the pork to bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.
  2. To prepare the dough, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine the water, the oil, and egg in a medium bowl. Gradually add the oil mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly until smooth. Divide dough in half. Cover with plastic; let rest about 30 minutes.
  3. To prepare filling, heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add the pork mixture; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook 5 minutes or until pork loses its pink color. Add onion and bell pepper; cook 5 minutes. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in tomato, ham, wine, and saffron; cook 5 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°.
  5. Working with 1 portion of dough at a time (cover remaining dough to keep from drying), roll each portion into a 13-inch circle on a floured surface. Place 1 portion of dough on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Spoon filling onto dough using a slotted spoon, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Place remaining portion of dough over filling. Pinch edges to seal. Cut several slits in top of dough to allow steam to escape. Brush with egg. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until golden brown; cool. Cut into wedges.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:

Healthy Units: 8 per serving

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