Lamb shoulder empanada

Empanadas, whilst being very much a Galician speciality, are very popular all over Spain, and always sell out when we make them. Not surprising, as what’s not to like?! They’re the ultimate ‘pie on the fly’! Classically a tuna, meat, or mixed vegetable filling, they’re eaten from breakfast onwards in Spain by the slice. This is a version filled with super slow cooked lamb shoulder. If you go to the trouble of making your own pastry with this simple recipe too, it’s well worth the effort.
The Cantabrian anchovy and mint accompaniment lifts it another notch too, playing on the classic pairings of mint and anchovy with lamb.


For the pastry:

For the pastry, this is a brilliant recipe, that we have used for years. Although as an alternative you can use shop bought pastry, you can still get superb results. Buy ready rolled puff pastry, enough for a 10 inch by 13 inch tray/pie.

  1. Pre heat the oven to 200C fan / gas mark 6.
  2. In a food mixer, add the milk, water, yeast, honey, sugar, butter and fat. With the whisk attachment, whisk on low speed for one minute. Then leave for 10 minutes until it becomes foamy and frothy.
  3. Put the dough hook on the mixer and add the flour. Need for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add the salt and mix for another 6 minutes.
  5. Divide the ball of dough in half.
  6. Roll one ball 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.
  7. Put the lamb mixture (see below how to prepare the lamb mixture) on the base dough and cover evenly.
  8. 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.
  9. Brush the top and sides of the pastry with the beaten egg.
  10. 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 lamb filling:

  1. Blend the anchovies, rosemary, thyme, mint stalks, garlic, lemon zest, 75ml of the sherry and olive oil in a processor or blender to form a great lamb marinade.
  2. Puncturing 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.
  3. Pre heat the oven to 140◦C fan.
  4. Place the celery, carrots, onion, leek, garlic and bay in a roasting tray. Add all the remaining oloroso sherry. Unwrap the lamb, place on top of the vegetables, then cover tightly with foil.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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. We make it quite fine, or blend it as we did for this photo, but sometimes at home we roughly chop and enjoy rustically digging in.
In a bowl, add all your ingredients, mix well, and serve with the empanada and piquillo sauce.

To serve:

Once the Empanadas are ready, take them out and leave to rest for ten minutes before tucking in with the piquillo sauce and the anchovy and mint.

If you go to the trouble of making such a tasty pie like this, you are going to feel like a drink afterwards, let alone during!
As an homage to Galicia, it ought to be something from that region.
Empanadas are often a stand at the bar kind of snack, so an Reserva 1906 from Coruña with its depth and malted notes would be ideal.

Bar 44

Bar 44 was founded by Owen Morgan, in 2002. Having fallen in love with Spanish food, drink and culture over time, he wanted to bring his favourite tapas dishes and a slice of modern Spanish culture to the UK. Tom Maynard joined Bar 44 six years ago after working for Caprice group in London for 5 years; he is now Head Chef at Bar 44, Bristol. Their menu focuses on impeccably sourced ingredients served with modern touch and a lot of Spanish passion. Support Bar 44 during these times and buy a voucher to be used for a night to remember at one of their restaurants.

Preparation Time: 45 mins + overnight marinade

Cooking time: 5.5 hours
Serves: 4-6


For the pastry:
600g of strong white bread flour
150g of warm milk (37◦C or blood temperature, if you have a thermometer)
150g of warm water
10g of instant yeast
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
100g of unsalted butter
100g of Ibérico pork fat – substitute for lard or olive oil
25g of table salt
2 eggs, beaten

OR shop bought ready rolled puff pastry

For the lamb:
1 whole shoulder of lamb, bone in
8 x anchovies (a small jar of salted anchovies is ideal)
Handful of rosemary leaves
Handful of thyme leaves
Mint stalks from your dressing
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and fine diced
Zest of 1 lemon
750ml of oloroso sherry
75ml extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

3 lengths of celery, roughly chopped
4 medium carrots, washed and rough diced
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 medium leeks, cleaned and roughly chopped
1 bulb of garlic, cut in half horizontally
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of tomato purée
500ml of good chicken stock

For the piquillo sauce:
500g tin of roast piquillo peppers, drained – available from good delis, supermarkets, and online
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
40ml of arbequina olive oil
1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar

For the anchovy dressing:
8 salted anchovies
1 clove of garlic, peeled and fine diced
12 medium sized mint leaves, picked
1 handful of flat leaf parsley, picked
100ml of arbequina olive oil
30ml of sherry vinegar

For the piquillo sauce:
500g tin of roast piquillo peppers, drained – available from good delis, supermarkets, and online
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
40ml of arbequina olive oil
1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar


Reserva 1906

A traditional flavour of marked depth and malted notes, an ideal pairing for your Galician Empanada.

Available from: Sabor en Casa, Greene King online & Wholefoods.