Empanadillas Gallegas (Galician Turnovers)

Galician Turnover or Pasties
Prep: 70 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Rise Time: 60 mins
Total: 2 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 12 to 18 Servings
Yields: 24 to 36 Empanadillas
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
468 Calories
27g Fat
28g Carbs
27g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 18
Amount per serving
Calories 468
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 34%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 102mg 34%
Sodium 583mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 27g
Vitamin C 10mg 51%
Calcium 53mg 4%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 469mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Empanadillas Gallegas—or Galician turnovers—is one of the most popular dishes from Galicia. Although bigger sizes of these empanadas exist, and even pie-style versions served in slices are common, our smaller empanadillas carry all the flavor in appetizer size.

Baked and not fried, these crispy and flaky empanadillas are filled with tuna or meat, both classic flavors. Our recipe includes the ingredients for both—if you're up for the challenge, double the amounts for the dough to enjoy both tuna and meat fillings, or cut the filling ingredients for each in half. If using two different fillings, we recommend making one shape of empanada per filling for easy recognition—square or half-moon.

Although time-consuming, these empanadillas are worth every minute of work. For a speedier assembly, make the dough and filling ahead and keep them in the fridge for up to a day. These flavorful empanadillas can even be frozen before baking, so you can have at hand a piece of Galicia any time you crave one of these tasty bites. If you can find Spanish pimentón use it in lieu of the paprika, as it will give the dish a truly Spanish flavor.

Ingredients

For the Sofrito:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 1 green sweet pepper, diced

  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 (28-ounce can) crushed tomatoes (or 5 to 6 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, and diced)

  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

For the Dough:

  • 4 cups flour, sifted

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • 1 packet dry yeast (or 0.6 ounces of fresh yeast)

  • 1/3 cup water (lukewarm)

  • 3/4 cup olive oil

  • 1/3 cup milk (lukewarm)

For the Tuna Filling:

  • 24 ounces canned tuna, drained

  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup sofrito

For the Meat Filling:

  • 4 tablespoons raisins

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped

  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (10 percent or less)

  • Salt (to taste)

  • Pepper (to taste)

  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 4 ounces dry white wine

  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup sofrito

  • 1 hard-boiled egg, finely chopped

For Assembly:

  • 1 egg white

  • 1 egg (for egg wash), optional

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this empanadillas dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Make the Sofrito

  1. Gather the sofrito ingredients.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium-size pan and add the chopped onions. Cook until transparent, or about 5 minutes.

  3. Add the peppers to the pan and cook for an extra 5 minutes until the peppers are soft.

  4. Add the garlic. Sauté the ingredients for an additional minute.

  5. Add the crushed tomatoes and paprika and continue cooking for 10 additional minutes, or until the sauce has reduced and thickened.

  6. Cover and reserve.

Make the Dough

  1. Gather the dough ingredients.

  2. Place the flour into a large mixing bowl alongside the salt and the sweet Spanish paprika. Make a well in the flour.

  3. In a separate bowl, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water.

  4. Pour the yeast mixture, oil, and milk into the well in the center of the flour. Mix well with a wooden spoon until a dough starts to form.

  5. Place the sticky dough on a clean and floured surface. Vigorously knead the dough with your hands to develop the gluten by pulling it towards you, cupping it, and then pulling it away from you, changing directions on each pass. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes until you have an elastic and pliable dough.

  6. Form a ball, place it in a bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise for about 1 hour in a warm and dry place.

Make the Tuna Filling

  1. Gather the tuna filling ingredients.

  2. Place the tuna in a mixing bowl and flake it into pieces with a fork.

  3. Add the chopped hard-boiled eggs and mix well.

  4. Starting with 1/2 cup of sofrito, add it to the tuna and eggs. If the filling seems dry, add more sofrito until you have a moist and thick consistency.

  5. Cover and reserve.

Make the Beef Filling

  1. Gather the beef filling ingredients.

  2. Cover the raisins with warm water and let soak for 5 to 10 minutes.

  3. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottom pan. Sauté the onions and garlic until the onions are transparent, about 5 minutes.

  4. Add the ground beef and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook the mixture until the beef is done, about 10 minutes.

  5. Drain the water from the raisins and add them to the pan.

  6. Add the parsley, oregano, paprika, cumin, white wine, sofrito, and chopped egg. Start with 1/2 cup of sofrito and add more if needed to make a moist and thick filling.

  7. Mix well, cover, and cook on low for approximately 5 minutes.

  8. Remove from the heat and reserve.

Shape the Dough

  1. Divide the risen dough in half.

  2. Place one half of the dough on a lightly floured clean surface and roll out to approximately 1/8-inch in thickness.

  3. To make triangular-shaped empanadas, cut the dough into 4-inch squares. Alternatively, to make half-round empanadas, use a 4-inch diameter cookie cutter to cut out circles in the dough. Shape and cover with a kitchen towel to avoid the dough drying up. Roll out the remaining dough and cut in the preferred shape. Cover until it's time to assemble the empanadas.

Assemble the Empanadillas

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the egg white in a small bowl and lightly beat it.

  2. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of filling into each square or circle of dough.

  3. Brush the egg white onto the edges of the dough, fold over and press with your fingers to seal. Repeat the process with all your cut dough until you're out of filling. As an alternative to sealing with your fingers, you can seal by pressing the tines of a fork along the edges of the dough.

  4. Place the empanadas on a lined cookie sheet. If using the optional egg wash, beat the optional egg in a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of water. Brush the empanadas with the egg mixture.

  5. Bake for approximately 15 minutes at 350 F, until golden brown.

  6. Enjoy!

Make-Ahead Empanadas

If you want to prepare empanadas ahead of time, stuff them but don't bake them. You can freeze them for up to 3 months, but be sure they don't touch each other in the container. Remove them from the freezer and bake them for a little longer, until golden brown.