Heritage Recipe: Abuelita’s Empanadillas

Heritage Recipe: Abuelita's EmpanadillasWhenever I think of my abuelita, I can picture her in the kitchen getting our meals ready.  She cooked from scratch, so cooking for us was a day-long process. For freshness, she went grocery shopping every day.  Sometimes I went along with her as she took her time making sure that whatever she was getting at the market was the best and freshest.

LEFTOVER MAGIC
I don’t believe she ever cooked the same dish twice in a week. She planned ahead and tried to use leftovers to come up with another meal for the next day.  If there was roast chicken and there were leftovers, she would then make croquetas.

One of the dishes she didn’t make often enough were empanadillas. I still love them. They are great as a tapa or as part of a meal with a salad. Empanadillas are a smaller version of an empanada and can also be made with leftovers.

Read Related: The Other Tortilla

EMPANADILLAS
Yield: 20-24

Ingredients
3 TBSP olive oil
1 onion, diced
½ cup pimientos de piquillo, drained and chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 5 oz cans albacore tuna in olive oil (tastier and juicier)
Pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste
Goya discs or two flat sheets of pie dough
1 beaten egg

Instructions

  1. Heat a large pan over medium high. Add the olive oil, the diced onion and sauté until it becomes translucent. Salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Add the diced tomatoes and lower heat to medium. Cook stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes until most of the juice has evaporated. Add the pimientos de piquillo and cook for about five minutes.
  3. Drain the tuna and add to the pan. Cook stirring for about another 5 minutes on low heat. Add pine nuts and remove from heat.  Set aside and allow to cool.

Assembling the Empanadillas

  1. Set oven to 400° F.
  2. Flour a clean surface and place one of the cool dough sheets on the counter. Roll dough out thinly. Work fast and with cold hands, so the dough doesn’t become sticky.
  3. Using a 5-inch wide rimmed glass, cup or cookie cutter, cut out about 12 rounds.
  4. Place the rounds on a parchment covered cookie pan and top each round with about two tablespoons of the tuna filling.
  5. Beat an egg with a teaspoon of water and dab the edges of the disks with a brush. Fold the discs. With the tines of a fork seal and brush some egg wash over the empanadillas so they become golden when baking.
  6. Repeat the process with the other cool pastry dough sheet and the filling. Place on cookie sheet.
  7. Place the two sheets of empanadillas close to the center of the oven and bake for 13 minutes. Turn the sheets over from top to bottom and from back to front. Bake another 13 minutes or until golden.
  8. Serve warm with a salad or on their own as a tapa.

Notes

• You can also use puff pastry dough if you want puffy empanadillas.
• You can use different fillings, as chicken, vegetables with tofu, or a meat substitution.
• If you want a milder taste, add a teaspoon of sugar when adding the diced tomatoes.

Laura Carbonell

Learn more about Laura Carbonell.

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