Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pork Pie (Not the Hat): Empanada Gallega de Raxó

Delicioso!When I was a wee thing growing up in Oregon, we didn't have Taco Bell, we had Taco Time. So, I grew up thinking that an empanada was a filled, fried cylinder of questionably fruit origin, covered in sugar. Good stuff. Further experience introduced me to Latin American empanadas, big full pocket pies of meaty goodness. Let's face it: I'm a fiend for a savory pie, I'm a fiend for an individual-sized pie, so I'm a fiend for empanadas.

It comes then as no surprise that when I saw an empanada on a menu in Spain, I ordered it. This recipe from Delicioso! The Regional Cooking of Spain is spot on for the unexpected--but wonderful--empanada:
Empanada Gallega de Raxó
(Galician Pork and Peppers Pie)

Start preparation 2 hours in advance

I have never found a filling that is tastier and more succulent than this one for Galicia’s classic savory pie. Empanadas, however, may be filled with many other mixtures, from tuna, scallops, and sardines to rabbit and chicken. The dough also varies according to the cook, from a real bread dough to a much more refined modified puff pastry. Here I have provided my favorite puff pastry empanada dough from Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain, but when I do not have the time or inclination to make my own pastry, I go to my local pizzeria and buy an uncooked pizza dough. The empanada comes out just like those of Galicia based on bread dough.

Empanadas cut in small wedges or squares make excellent tapas, and in larger portions, accompanied by a salad, make a most enjoyable light meal. I think they are at their best freshly baked but at room temperature.

Makes about 4 dinner or 8-10 tapas portions

Puff Pastry for Empanadas (p. 109) or 1 ½ pounds pizza dough
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons minced parsely
1 ½ teaspoons minced oregano leaves or ¼ teaspoon dried
Several strands of saffron
1 ½ teaspoons thyme leaves or ¼ teaspoon dried
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons dry white wine
¾ pound boneless pork loin, cut in 1/8-inch slices, then in 1/2-inch strips
1 large onion, preferably Vidalia or Spanish, slivered
¾ pound green frying peppers, cored, seeded, and cut in long narrow strips
3 teaspoons imported sweet paprika
¼ pound tomato, skinned, seeded, and chopped
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup)finely diced Spanish mountain cured ham, prosciutto, or capicollo
Freshly ground pepper
1 hard-boiled egg, sliced
1 pimiento, imported or homemade (p. 178), cut in strips
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water

If using homemade dough, prepare according to instructions.

In a mortar or mini processor, mash to a paste the garlic, parsley, oregano, saffron, and thyme. Mix in 1 tablespoon of the oil and the wine. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the strips of pork, coating them well. Marinate 2 hours. Drain the meat and reserve the marinade.

In a shallow casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil and slowly sauté the meat until it just loses its color. Return the meat to the reserved marinade. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the casserole and sauté the onion and pepers a minute or two. Cover and cook very slowly for 15 minutes. Stir in the paprika, then turn up the heat, add the tomato, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in the paprika, then turn up the heat, add the tomato, and cook 5 minutes. Add the pork wit hits marinade and the ham and season with salt and pepper.

Roll the dough into a 14- by 28-inch rectangle. Divide into two 14-inch squares, then trim the corners to make two 14-inch circles. Place one of them on a cookie sheet (dampened if using pastry dough, sprinkled with cornemeal or flour if using pizza dough) and arrange the pork mixture to within 1 inch of the edge. Scatter on the egg slices, top with the pimiento strips, and cover with the second dough circle. Roll up the edges and press well to seal. Make several slits in the dough, brush with the beaten egg, and bake at 350°F for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until browned. Cool a few minutes before serving or serve at room temperature.
Oh, yes. Bread and meat and deliciousness, coming out looking like a stuffed pizza. Don't believe me? Take a gander:

Empanada and lemon soda. Photo by Wendy A F G Stengel; some rights reserved.

Not the most artistic of all possible photos, but look! That's my wedge o' empanada, proper Spanish empanada! Beats the heck out of a Taco Time anything, I don't mind telling you. (All due and right respect to Taco Time; you taught me to dip crispy burritos in taught me there could be crispy burritos.) Everyone else ordered pizza, so I'm betting that they used pizza dough for the empanada, too. If anyone feels a strong need for the puff pastry recipe referenced above, I'll post it, but, really: use some pizza dough. Speed up your process. Get to the good stuff. The pork. The pie. The pork pie (not a hat).

Tasty, hearty, filling without weighing you down. Trust me. And, yes, you really do serve up a full quarter as a serving. The Camino is a long, long walk.

1 comment:

  1. I love that you're doing this blog again. I've missed it!