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September 2012 - Empanada Gallega

I was not very fond of this challenge. It's not that I wouldn't like some sort of a meat pie for dinner - it's just that I prefer sweet challenges. On the other hand, my empanada turned out very nice in the end.

I chose the Corn and Wheat empanada dough, because I thought, hey, it's Spanish, it must have corn in it! The filling was an improvisation, as is usual for me.

This is what I used for the dough:

400 grams instant polenta (that I used instead of corn flour)

100 grams wheat bread flour

250 ml warm water

1 packet (10g) instant yeast

1 teaspoon salt

150 ml oil (I did not feel like waiting for margarine to soften)

 

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First, I mixed the dry ingredients - polenta, flour, yeast and salt.

 

 

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Then, I added the warm water and oil and mixed everything together.

 

 

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This is how the dough looked. It was very crumbly and actually did not stick together very well. Also, the oil I used did not mix well in the dough, the polenta did not soak it up properly. I let the dough rise for about 10-12 hours (at room temperature), kneading it two or three times in the meantime. It did not rise, but I could feel how it became fluffy to the touch.

 

When the dough had "risen", I prepared my filling: pork and vegetables. I don't have precise measurements, because I took what I had in the fridge.

 

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First, I chopped an onion, two small carrots and some leftover celery leaves.

 

 

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I also chopped some brussels sprouts.

 

 

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I cut pork (from the leg, very nice and lean meat) into slices, seasoned them with some salt and ground caraway seeds and quickly browned them. In the same pan, I browned the onions, carrots and celery leaves.

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This is the pork :-) I usually don't like pork, but this was quite yummy! Also, I did not use any strong seasonings because my boyfriend did not feel well and asked for something on the delicate side.

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When the onions etc. were browned, I added chopped mushrooms and brussels sprouts to the pan. Then I added chopper bell peppers.

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I added a little water, salt, caraway, a dash of garlic granules and some smoked paprika (I seem to like it...). I let the vegetables and meat cool a bit.

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I took half of the prepared dough and pressed it with my fingers into a baking sheet covered with baking paper. The dough was very oily.

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I arranged the meat on the dough and covered it with the vegetables.

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I took the remaining dough and covered the filling with it. I think the same technique is used for fruit cobblers: take a little bit of dough, flatten it between your fingers or palms of your hands and put it one next to the other on top of the filling.

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I baked it for about 30 minutes at 200 °C. I don't remember the exact time, but I did use a thermometer to find out whether the inner temperature was safe. You can never be paranoid enough with meat.

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Et voilà - empanada gallega! Well, not really. I don't think this has anything Spanish in it. The filling was surprisingly good, despite the fact that I don't like pork and brussels sprouts. The dough, however, was not my favourite. The polenta made it very gritty and it was rather hard to cut. The next day, after a night in the fridge, the dough became slightly softer. I should have tried a different dough. But I don't blame the original recipe - I am sure it was my fault ;-)

 

 
 

 

 

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