I like winter. OK, I like winter when it snows or when it's cold and sunny. What I can't stand is those rainy, grey, sad days when all I'd like to do is lay on my couch, reading a good book drinking hot chocolate (with amaretto for me, thanks). The last few days have been exactly like that here and since my boss doesn't approve of me doing the couch potato while I should be working I had to resort to other means to cheer me up. A happy vacation memory gave me a good hint. I was, for no reason at all as often happens, thinking about a trip me and Daniela made about 2 years ago to Andalucia. Apart from many other delicious things we ate there, we had a sort of staple snack/lunch to bring to the beach: empanadas de atun or tuna empanadas, bought from small but nice grocery store. And that's what I tried to make yesterday evening.
The stuffing for the empanadas was not too difficult to reproduce as I had a quite good idea of the ingredients. The dough was a bit more problematic: it turned out nice but was not like the original one.
First of all the stuffing: I knew (having carefully studied one of the mentioned empanadas in Spain) that it contained red and yellow peppers, some tomato, tuna (in oil probably), onion, green olives and a herb which I supposed to be oregano.
So for the stuffing I took:
2 cans tuna in oil (about 300 grams "meat", 9.6 oz)
2 peppers, one red and one yellow
2 big canned tomatoes
12 pitted green olives
1 red onion
some oregano, about 1 Tbs fresh
I first browned the thinly sliced onion in some oil and then added the peppers, also sliced in thin 1 cm long pieces). While the peppers cooked I took the tuna and crumbled it. I chopped the onions quite finely and added them, together with the oregano to the tuna. As soon as the pepper slices turned "soft" I added the chopped canned tomatoes, added salt and pepper , and let cook till the peppers were done and only a little liquid was left (that was probably a mistake as you'll see). I mixed the tuna and peppers together and went on to make the dough.
I was quite sure the original dough was not yeasted and that it contained some fat as it was nicely flakey, but had no clue about the proportions. So I just tried. At the end I used 400 g all purpose flour, half a glass of olive oil, one tsp salt and as much water as needed to have a dry-ish but soft dough. I divided it into 8 balls and proceeded with the assembly of the empanadas. Here I noticed that a lot of liquid was present in the stuffing so I gust dumped it into a sieve to get rid of most of it. I suspect that the chopped olives and the peppers were responsible for this. Anyway, without loosing too much time I started rolling out the dough. Since the empanadas we had in Spain were more longish than half circle-shaped I rolled the dough into an elongated oval. After adding 2-3 tsp of stuffing in the middle, I wetted one side of the oval and closed the empanadas using a fork to press down the seam. Before going into the oven I brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled some sesame seed on top. They took 15-20 minutes in a 180C oven (350F) to become a nice golden colour. After burning my tongue trying to taste one fresh from the oven I decided to wait... I never learn :-).
The empanadas were nice, the stuffing had the proper taste, lacking maybe a bit of acidity (probably do to me using canned instead of fresh summer tomatoes) and maybe a tad too rich on the tuna. Next time I'd probably reduce the tuna by 1/4 and add a pepper more. The dough was not it. It tasted nice and was even a bit flakey like the original but it wasn't as pliable, it was more sort of crunchy (but not cracker like!). I also suspect that the original fat was lard. Me and Daniela liked them anyway and I'll keep them in mind as something for picnics or parties. They're quite quick to make and great to eat with your hands.