For the last few weeks, I have craved empanadas. Seriously craved them. I decided to search high and low for a recipe that would just “work” because I never made them. I have ordered my fair share of empanadas but making them were a different story. I am so glad I took the plunge and tried a great recipe, and I am pleased to present these turkey empanadas to you.
When I first read the recipe from Beef Empanadas recipe from Leite’s Culinara,I knew I found a winner. I know great pie dough when I see it so I knew this one was great since it is very similar to my homemade pie dough. The vinegar in it is key to the flakiness, and I also add an egg yolk to mine to make it tender. I did however omit the sugar because I tend to dislike sweet pastry crust in savory dishes.
For the filling, I replaced the beef with ground turkey. I also omitted the raisins and olives because I didn’t have any on hand. I added a tiny bit of paprika as well to the filling to punch up the flavor just a bit.
After rolling out the lovely dough and adding in the filling, I crimped the sides and fried them until golden brown. They were so delicious. I really loved the flavor of the flaky crust paired with the amazing juicy filling. Using the ground turkey was an awesome choice too. It lightened the recipe a little which is hard to do when you are deep frying pie dough. Thanks to this recipe, my empanada cravings have ceased, and I have a mainstay whenever they decide to resurge.
Slightly adapted from Leite's Culinara
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon peanut, corn, or canola oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 pound ground turkey
- 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 cup homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Corn or canola oil for frying
- 1. Combine the flour and salt in your food processor and pulse a couple of times. Add butter and pulse until it resembles coarse meal.
- 2. Lightly beat the eggs with the water and vinegar. Add to flour crumbs and pulse until dough forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead for 2 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- 3. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion softens. Add ground turkey, crumble and cook until pink is gone. . Drain of grease. Stir in tomato paste then add stock or broth and paprika simmer until the liquid almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- 4. Roll the dough on a generously floured work surface until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Cut the dough into 3-inch rounds with a floured biscuit cutter or glass, stamping out as many rounds as possible. Roll out any dough scraps and cut out additional rounds if possible. Brush any excess flour from the dough rounds.
- 5. Working with 1 round at a time and keeping the rest covered with plastic wrap, spoon about 2 teaspoons filling on one side of the dough round. Fold the dough over to enclose the filling and crimp the edges with a fork to seal. Cover with plastic wrap while you form the remaining empanadas. [The filled, uncooked empanadas can be frozen on a baking sheet, and stored in an airtight plastic bag or container for up to a month. You’ll need to bake the unthawed empanadas, rather than fry them, in a 350°F (176°C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes.]
- 6. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Pour enough oil into a deep-sided pot to reach a depth of about 1/2 inch and heat until it registers about 325°F (163°C) on a deep-fry or candy thermometer.
- 7. Fry the empanadas in small batches, turning them once, until browned and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the empanadas to paper towels or a brown paper bag to drain for a few moments, and then transfer to a baking sheet. Place the fried empanadas in the oven to keep warm while you fry the remaining empanadas. Serve at once.