Vegetarian Vuelta a España: Pisto Machego Empanadas

September 10, 2011 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Snacks/Appetizers, Vegetarian Vuelta a España Print This Post Print This Post

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Empanadas. If you stuff food into a pastry, I’m so totally there. The word “empanada” is derived from the Spanish verb empanar meaning “to wrap with bread”. Empanadas in Spain can either be made as small finger foods or similar to a pie that’s cut into slices.

These little savory pockets are so revered in Spain, that even a 12th century sculptor captured the food in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. From this carving, you could totally tell the upper crust really enjoyed their empanadas.


But, not everyone was allowed to enjoy them…in the same cathedral, these poor guys condemned to the pits of Hell forever tormented by not being able to eat their empanadas because of the leather straps around their necks.


I found many recipes for empanda dough but one thing remained the same – you have to really knead the dough. In fact, I came across this Galacian saying, ‘Making love and making dough for empanadas should never be rushed.’ Did Veggin’ just transfer from a PG to a PG-13 site with that? Uh, okay, moving on…

I put these empanadas together by adapting a couple of recipes. The pastry is almost biscuit-like when it puffs up in the heated oil. The filling is a traditional pisto a sort of Spanish ratatouille. The pisto recipe makes a lot, but don’t be afraid of freezing the leftovers to eat later. It goes well as a sandwich or thrown in an omelet.

Featured Recipes

Pisto Manchego Empanadas
Pisto in Authentic La Mancha Style from
Dough by Megabeth

Pisto Ingredients:

  • 4 Tablespoons Quality Spanish Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion, diced
  • 2 Eggplants, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 Large Zucchinis, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 Green Bell Peppers, seeded and diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 4 Large Ripe Tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 Teaspoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Empanada Dough

  • 3 cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 egg


Directions for Pisto:

Heat the olive oil in a stew pot over medium heat. Saute the eggplant and onion together until the onion is translucent; about 5 minutes. Add zucchini, peppers, and garlic. Saute slowly until all ingredients have softened.

Add tomatoes; stir.

Cover and cook on medium for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Set heat on low and allow to simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding small amounts of water if necessary. The zucchini and eggplant should soften and break down and should form a lumpy mash. Add vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let mixture cool slightly before moving on to make empanadas.

To make the dough:

Put all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Cut in the shortening with two knives.

Whisk egg and vegetable stock. Then add into the flour mixture. Knead until you get a dough. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Flour a flat surface and roll dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 4-inch circles using a glass or a biscuit cutter. Place 1 Tablespoon of the pisto into the center of the circle (make sure you drain off some of the liquid before putting it on the dough).

Fold dough into a 1/2 circle. Press the edges together with your finger, then finish using a fork.

Heat vegetable oil in a pan (about a 1/2 inch of oil in the pan) to about 350 degrees. Place empanadas into oil and fry on each side for 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown.

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