Sunday dinner: Turkey empanadas

Remember that Thanksgiving turkey? You know, the five-hour turkey? There was certainly no reason to let it go to waste, but I couldn’t stand to reheat and eat it. I was a little out on the idea of turkey sandwiches, as we had just done that earlier in the week (I made a turkey, in less than five hours, last Sunday. We turned it into sandwiches on Tuesday.).

The turkey empanada idea is not original. I picked it up from an issue of Bon Appetit, though their version uses puff pastry for the crust. I don’t have patience for that, so I went for the real deal. Apparently, empanada discs are a hot item at Wegmans Fairmount, because all of the plain variety were gone and I was left with the last package of discos con achiote. The flavor from the annatto seed was negligible at best.

I’m not a master empanada maker, as evidenced by the leaky pockets of dough. I overloaded a few of them, causing gravy to leak from the seams. There wasn’t much I could do about the bubbling from the fork marks I made to vent the insides.

WHAT WORKED: Only one extra ingredient. The original called for stuffing, potatoes and turkey, but we didn’t have any of the second item left. I considered picking some up from the prepared foods section at Wegmans, but thought better of it. The empanadas were bursting at the seams to begin with. Any more and they would not have closed.

WHAT DIDN’T: The stuffing. Unless you have a small cut stuffing, this will be a troublesome ingredient. Potatoes would have worked better as they are more pliable and take up less room.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: I think she liked them, but I honestly don’t remember what she said. Hold on. Let me ask. She says: “I really liked dinner, although it must have been salty because I’ve drank three glasses of water.”

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Maybe not until next year, but I like the empanada concept and think I’m ready to give something more authentic a try.

Turkey empanadas
Adapted From Bon Appetit

  • 2 cups diced cooked turkey (white and dark meat)
  • 1/2 cup chilled gravy
  • 1 1/2 cups 17.3-ounce packages frozen puff pastry (3 sheets), thawed
  • 1 package of Goya empanada discs
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes, divided or 1 cup stuffing
  • 1 egg white, beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon cold water (for glaze)
  • Cranberry sauce (Note: I opted out here)

Mix turkey with chilled gravy in small bowl. Roll out 3 pastry sheets to 12-inch-long rectangles on floured work surface. Cut out 2 six-inch rounds from each pastry sheet, using small plate as guide (6 rounds total). Place each round on one 8- to 9-inch parchment square.

Spoon 2 1/2 tablespoons mashed potatoes onto half of each pastry round; press lightly to flatten, leaving 1/2-inch border. Top with 2 to 3 tablespoons stuffing, then about 1/3 cup turkey mixture.

Brush glaze around filling on 1 pastry half. Fold plain pastry half over filling, stretching dough to cover. Seal edges with fork tines. Repeat to form 5 more empanadas. Transfer empanadas (still on parchment squares) to 2 rimmed baking sheets (3 on each sheet), spacing 2 inches apart. Chill empanadas 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Press edges of empanadas again with fork tines. Brush empanadas with egg-white glaze and cut small slits in top to allow steam to escape. Bake empanadas 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake empanadas until puffed and golden, 25 to 35 minutes longer. Serve empanadas, passing cranberry sauce alongside.

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