Empanada basically means “to wrap in bread” and that’s pretty much what I did tonight.  A simple dough, a simple filling, simply fried.  A simple dinner, indeed! There are as many “traditional” fillings as there are countries where empanadas can be found, so that pretty much left me free to create my own.  I had leftover turkey in the ‘fridge, so it was pretty automatic that turkey was going to be a main ingredient! I found the dough recipe online…

Empanada Dough

* 3 cups flour (plus a little more for kneading)
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup cold water
* 1 egg
* 1 egg white
* 1 teaspoon vinegar
* 3 tablespoons shortening (I use lard)

1. In a bowl, beat the water, egg, egg white and vinegar together. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the 3 cups of flour and salt.
3. Cut the shortening into the flour mix with a pastry blender or two butter knives. Make a well in the center of the flour mix and pour the liquid ingredients from the first bowl into the center.
4. Mix the wet and dry ingredients with a fork until it becomes stiff.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it just until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth.
6. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but never more than 24 hours.

The Filling

  • 1 cup diced cooked turkey
  • 1/2 jar Happy Hal’s Black Bean Bruschetta
  • 1/4 cup chipotle sauce
  • 1/2 cup diced roasted red pepper
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix.  That’s it.  Really. To make empanadas, take dough and divide into 10 pieces.  Roll into balls and then roll out to about 6″ circles.  Fill with a couple of tablespoons of filling.  Fold over and crimp edges with a fork to seal. Fry in a bit of hot oil until browned.

These were really a lot of fun – and the filling was about as non-traditional as you can get.  It’s okay, though, because eating is supposed to be about fun and flavors, not rigid rules.  Granted, if I were making these for someone from a country where they are native, I would probably be a bit more exacting, but this is me, Victor, and the stuff already in the house.  The food police are not coming over, tonight. I can tell that I’m getting older…  Once upon a time, I would have insisted that everything be exact, that ingredients all be authentic.  I would have driven myself (and everyone around me) crazy. Not any more.  Food Fun.  Fun Food.

The rice was brown jasmine rice that I added a couple of tablespoons of sofrito sauce to the cooking water.  Not exactly traditional, either, but dayum, it was good! A smiling stomach and leftovers for lunches. Life is good!