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Sabor chef Nieves Barragán’s tuna empanada makes for wonderful comfort food

Nieves Barragán

Empanada Gallega is a big deal in Galicia and it’s a dish I grew up eating at home. Every family has its own recipe, but this version, which we often have upstairs at Sabor, is filled with tuna in a rich tomato sauce laced with onion, garlic, Padrón peppers and sweet paprika.

The filling is wrapped in a blanket of puff pastry, which should be soft on the inside and crisp on the outside as you slice with a knife. Serve with a zingy salad on the side and a cold beer.

Ingredients (serves 6)

25ml arbequina olive oil
2 chopped white onions
½ red onion, chopped
100g Padrón peppers, chopped
1 tbsp crushed garlic
250g tinned passata
½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
½ tbsp sweet paprika
2 bay leaves
350g tinned tuna in olive oil
Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flour, for dusting
600g puff pastry
1 egg yolk, whisked

Tuna empanada

1. Place the olive oil and vegetables in a saucepan over a low heat and poach until they become very soft.

2. Next, add the passata and cook for another 10-12 minutes. Mix in the spices and tuna and cook on a low heat for a further 10 minutes. Season to taste, remove the bay leaves and leave to cool.

3. Sprinkle flour on a clean, flat surface to avoid the pastry sticking and roll out 245g of the pastry to a 50x40cm sheet, and another weighing 275g to 56x46cm. Set aside the remaining pastry to roll into 3mm diameter ‘strings’ for decoration.


4. Take the smaller sheet of pastry and cover evenly with the empanada mix, then place the larger sheet — the lid — on top. Brush the rim of the lid with a little water and egg yolk, and fold along the side with your fingers to make sure that it is completely closed.


5. Decorate the top with the ‘strings’ of pastry to form lattice-like squares — you will need three 50cm long and four 40cm long pieces.

6. Cover an appropriately sized baking tray with a piece of baking paper and place the empanada on top. Egg wash the top of the empanada and make a 1cm hole in the centre.


7. Cook at 170C for around 20 minutes, or until the empanada is golden brown. Serve with a fresh side salad.