Empanadas, though a Galician speciality, are very popular all over Spain. The version below is filled with super-slow-cooked Welsh lamb shoulder.. To save time, you can use ready-rolled puff pastry and still get superb results (buy enough for a 25 x 32cm pie). The anchovy and mint accompaniment lifts the empanada another notch.
The idea with this recipe is to make it from scratch, but you could also use roast lamb leftovers from a big Sunday dinner.
For the lamb filling:
- Blend the anchovies, rosemary, thyme, mint stalks, garlic, lemon zest, 75ml of the dry sherry and olive oil in a processor or blender to form a great lamb marinade.
- Puncture the lamb all over, then rub the marinade in all over with gusto! Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 140◦C fan.
- Place the celery, carrots, onion, leek, garlic and bay in a roasting tray. Add all the remaining sherry. Unwrap the lamb, place on top of the vegetables, then cover tightly with foil.
- Put the lamb in the oven for three and a half hours, then remove the foil and cook for a further one hour. It should be melting tender and falling off the bone after this. Remove the lamb from the tray to rest and cool.
- Put the tray of vegetables and juices on the hob. Turn the heat to medium high, bring to the boil and stir. Add the tomato purée, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Heat the chicken stock in a small saucepan, then add to the vegetables. Whilst stirring and reducing by half to sauce consistency, this should take about 5 minutes.
- Shred the lamb and combine with the reduced vegetable mixture.
- Pre heat the oven to 200C fan / gas mark 6.
- Roll pastry to 5mm or ¼ inch thickness. Line your baking tray with some lard or olive oil. Lay the dough on the base, draping any excess over the sides.
- Put the lamb mixture on the base dough and cover evenly.
- Repeat the process with the other half of the dough and place on top. Now crimp the seams together all the way around, sealing well.
- Brush the top and sides of the pastry with the beaten egg.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a rich golden colour. Take the empanada out and leave to rest for ten minutes before tucking in with the piquillo sauce and the anchovy and mint.
For the piquillo sauce:
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until you have a silky smooth purée/sauce.
For the anchovy dressing:
On a chopping board, chop the anchovies, parsley and mint. You can do this roughly or really fine, depending on the consistency of the dressing you would like. In a bowl, add all your ingredients, mix well, and serve with the empanada and piquillo sauce.