How to Make Empanadillas Gallegas - Little Galician Turnovers

  • 01 of 06

    Making Empanadillas - Cook the "Sofrito" - Tomato Sauce

    Empanadillas - Little Turnovers
    Empanadillas (c) 2007 L. Sierra Licensed to

    Empanadas Gallegas or Galician Turnovers are one of the most popular dishes from Galicia. Empanadas in Galicia are traditionally large round or square turnovers that are cut into pieces to serve. The version that we will make here are smaller individual turnovers, commonly referred to as empanadillas. The dough recipe makes enough dough to make one large empanada or several dozen empanadillas. For simplicity's sake, we will refer to them as empanadas in this step-by-step.

    Learn all about Galicia's Regional Cuisine in our article Spanish Regional Cuisine.

    There are several steps to making the empanadas - cook the tomato sauce for the filling, make the dough and filling, and finally, fold and bake the empanadas.

    Important Note: This step-by-step includes recipes for both meat and tuna fillings and you can make either. The dough recipe is enough for 1 of the fillings, not both! So, if you plan on making both fillings, you'll need to double the dough recipe.

    Let's start with the sofrito, tomato sauce sautéed with olive oil and onions:

    To make either the meat and tuna filling, you'll need to make Spanish Sofrito, (click to see recipe.)

    While the sofrito cools, go to the next step and start preparing the dough.

    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    Making the Empanadillas - Prepare the Dough

    Dough Ingredients

    • 4 cups flour
    • 1/3 cup milk, lukewarm
    • 1/3 cup water, lukewarm
    • 3/4 cup olive Oil
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. Spanish sweet paprika
    • 1 cube moist yeast, or one envelope of dry yeast

    Make the Dough and Let Rise

    Put the flour into a large mixing bowl and mix in the salt and sweet Spanish paprika. Make a hole in the center of the flour. Place the yeast in the lukewarm water to dissolve it. Pour the oil, the water-yeast mixture and the milk into the depression in the center of the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon, then knead the dough with your hands. The dough should be elastic and form a ball.

    Cover the bowl with a dish towel. Let the dough rise for about 1 hour. The bowl should be in a warm room, so that it rises properly. If your kitchen is drafty, place the covered bowl in the oven to rise.

    Now it is time to prepare either the tuna or meat filling.

    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    Making the Empanadillas - Prepare the Tuna Filling


    Place the eggs in boiling water and boil them until hard. Drain the water and immediately place in cold water to cool. When cooled, peel and chop eggs finely and set aside.

    Open the tuna cans and drain them thoroughly, squeezing the oil or water that the tuna is packed in.

    Place tuna in a mixing bowl and flake it into pieces with a fork. Add the chopped boiled eggs and mix. Add the sofrito to the tuna mixture to make a moist filling.

    When the dough has risen, you are ready to assemble the empanadas.

    Continue to 4 of 6 below.
  • 04 of 06

    Making the Empanadillas - Prepare the Meat Filling

    Meat Filling Ingredients

    • 4 Tbsp Raisins
    • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
    • 2 Medium Onions, finely chopped
    • 2 Large Cloves Garlic, minced
    • 1.5 lbs. Lean Ground Beef (less than 10% fat)
    • Salt & Pepper to Taste
    • 2 Tbsp Parsley
    • 1/2 Tsp Dried Oregano
    • 1/2 Tsp Sweet Spanish Paprika
    • 2 1/2 Tsp Ground Cumin
    • 4 oz Dry White Wine
    • Sofrito – Cooked Tomato Sauce (click to see recipe)
    • 1 Hard-Boiled Egg, finely chopped
    • (optional)2 Eggs + 2 Tsp Water, Beaten

    Put the raisins in a glass with enough warm water to cover. Let soak for 5-10 minutes, so that they “plump” up.

    Heat olive oil in a large frying pan with a heavy bottom. Sautee the onion and garlic until the onion is transparent. Add the ground beef and cook over medium high heat, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper.

    Drain water from the raisins and add raisins to the pan. Add parsley, oregano, paprika, cumin, white wine, sofrito and chopped egg. Mix all ingredients well. Cover and cook on low for approximately 5 minutes.

    Now you are ready to assemble the empanadas.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Making the Empanadillas - Assemble and Bake

    Separate the white of one large egg and place in a small bowl and lightly beat it. Pre-heat the oven to 350F degrees.

    The dough should have risen into a large, round ball and have a reddish-gold color from the Paprika. Carefully divide the dough in half.

    Place one half of the dough on a lightly floured cutting board and roll out to a thickness of approximately 1/8". You may make empanadas in the shape of half-circles, squares or triangles:

    To make triangular-shaped empanadas - Cut the dough into 4" squares, scoop a heaping tablespoon of filling into each square and brush the egg white on to 2 edges of the dough. Fold over and press with fingers to seal.

    To make half-round empanadas - Using a large-mouth jar or a large 4" diameter cookie cutter, cut out circles in the dough, scoop a heaping tablespoon of filling into each circle and brush the egg white around half of the circle. Fold over and press with fingers to seal.

    An alternative to sealing with your fingers, you can seal by pressing the tines of a fork along the edges of the dough. Carefully place each empanada on a cookie sheet to bake. Continue rolling out dough, cutting and filling until all dough is used.

    Bake for approximately 15 minutes at 350F degrees.

    Tip! If you want to prepare empanadas ahead of time, you can! Prepare the filling and stuff them, but do not bake them. Place in a container, layering them and making sure that they do not touch each other. Wrap tightly in plastic and freeze them. Remove them from the freezer, bake and serve them hot and fresh.

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    Making the Empanadillas - Serve Hot

    Empanadillas - Galician Turnovers or Pasties
    Empanadillas - Galician Turnover or Pasties (c) 2007 L. Sierra Licensed to

    Place empanadillas on a platter or plate and serve hot.