Turkey Empanadas

Thanksgiving is an all day affair in our family. We start with appetizers and cocktails at 1pm and end the evening with a game of Taboo late into the evening. In between, there is lots of food, wine, football, ping pong and fun. And of course, there is always the traditional turkey.

My son and I are not fans of turkey. There, I admitted it. I love Thanksgiving and most of the traditional meal, but have just never warmed up to turkey. It is the only day in the year that I will eat this fowl. I do not order turkey burgers or use ground turkey for meatballs. If I’m going the healthy route, I will always choose chicken instead. So, as you can imagine, I rarely bring home turkey leftovers. This year, I must have had one too many glasses of wine because my leftovers bag had lots of turkey in it. Not quite sure what to do with it, I decided to experiment a bit. Since one the appetizers served each year is an assortment of fresh empanadas ordered from a restaurant which makes really great ones, I decided it would appropriate to try my hand at making some from scratch and give the leftover turkey some new life.

And that is how this recipe came about. The experiment was more successful than I imagined and I hope you will try them also as they were really easy to make.  These went really fast so you might want to make an extra batch.

Turkey Empanadas

  • Servings: 12 empanadas
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Flaky pastry filled with a spicy turkey filling

Empanada dough recipe courtesy of Epicurious.com  Link : https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/empanada-dough-230786

Mustard greens may be substituted with kale, spinach or Swiss chard

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe empanada dough (see link in recipe notes above)
  • 3 Cups cooked turkey diced into small pieces (I used white & dark meat combo)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, chopped (with 2 Tbsp of adobo sauce)
  • 5 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 8 leaves mustard greens, chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • egg wash – 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp of water

Directions

In a large sauté pan, heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 2 mins until they have softened and have started to brown.  Add the chopped chipotle, thyme sprigs, and cumin.  Stir and cook for one minute.  Add the adobo sauce and stir.  Then add the chopped greens and stir until all leaves are wilted. Then add the cooked turkey, salt and pepper and stir.  Add 1 Tbsp cold water, cover and cook until turkey is thoroughly heated through – approximately 5 minutes.  Allow to cool for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Divide the prepared and refrigerated empanada dough into 12 equal portions and keep covered under a damp towel.  Take one portion of dough and roll out into a 5 inch circle on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Fill with 2 Tbsps of prepared turkey filling in the center.  Fold the dough over to form the empanada, and press to seal. Then use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges for a decorative touch.  Place on a cookie sheet and cover with a damp towel.  Continue until all empanadas are finished. You will need two cookie sheets for 12 empanadas.   Brush each empanada with the egg wash.  Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown in upper & lower thirds of the oven switching the sheets halfway through baking.  Serve with a sauce made by blending garlic, parsley, cilantro, lime juice and olive oil.  I served mine with an Indian cilantro chutney.     

 

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