I would say that empanada is a huge baked dumpling or pie, and an older brother of empanadillas, which are small baked dumplings, popular in Spain and several South American countries. In Spain, the most popular are empanadas from Galicia. Their dough contains quite a large amounts of fat (lard or olive oil), flour and water; sometimes a liquid formed during the preparation of filling is also added to it. Fillings are quite varied: meat, fish, seafood, vegetables or mushrooms, but the basis of almost all of them is sofrito: chopped onions and green and/or red peppers fried in olive oil, to which grated tomatoes or tomato sauce is often added. Typical Galician empanadas are prepared in large circular baking tins. The dough should be rolled out quite thin into 2 circles - one for the bottom and the other on top of the filling. The sealing of typical Galician empanada is done by forming spiral shaped edges and its top is often decorated with dough strips. In the middle of almost every empanada you will find a small hole, which helps the empanada to ''breathe'' during baking. Normally it's cut into wedges, served hot or cold, as a snack or appetiser.
Ingredients (serves 8):
650 g bread flour
12 g fresh yeast
12 g salt
100 g olive oil
200 g water
1 egg for brushing the top
500 g wild mushrooms
200 g bacon
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan. Add finely chopped onion and stir-fry until becomes transparent. In the meantime, clean the mushrooms and if they are large, cut them into small pieces. Add the mushrooms to the onion and fry for a few minutes over high heat. Then add the bacon pieces and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring from time to time. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool (the filling should be fairly dry, but if it isn't the best way is to put it on a sieve and retain the filtered liquid, which can lately be added to the dough, replacing some water or oil).
Put the flour in a bowl, add salt and mix. Add crumbled yeast and mix well with the flour. Add, little by little, the olive oil and the water. Start mixing with a wooden spoon, then knead the dough by hand. If necessary, add a little more water or olive oil. Continue kneading on a counter sprinkled with flour, until the dough is smooth and doesn't stick to your fingers. Form into a ball and leave to rise, covered, for about 1 hour or until it doubles in volume.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Divide the dough into 2 parts (one should be a little larger than the other) and roll out each of them into thin (mine were a little to thick) circle. Place the bigger circle on the bottom of a round baking tin lined with baking paper or greased with olive oil. The edges of the dough should be placed on the walls of the mold. Put the filling on the dough and cover with the second dough circle.
Seal the empanada, folding the edges of the bottom part on the top part and forming a sort of spiral shaped edges. Make a small hole in the middle and brush the top of empanada with lightly beaten egg. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Brush the hot empanada with a little bit of olive oil and cool a bit on a wire rack.
Inspiration source: http://www.unodedos.com/recetario-de-cocina/empanada-de-setas-receta-gallega/