Sunday, September 11, 2011

Empanada (Meat Turnover)

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Empanada is a street food fare back home and is easily found whenever you go around town. The most common way these pastries are prepared is deep fried in oil since they are cooked on the sidewalks and having a thermally regulated oven is just highly improbable. This snack is more evidence of the the Spanish rule in the Philippines but is one aspect of the colonization that I do welcome (oppression and abuses aside). Traditionally cooked with chicken, I prefer to make mine with ground pork.

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
The snack is quite versatile in the sense that the filling can be tweaked depending on your preference for raisins, green peas and boiled eggs. I also prefer to bake these goodies since it tends to bring out the flakiness of the pastry dough. It gives it this lighter taste that you don't obtain when deep frying them. My Nanay Mercy makes these for the family and I have made my own version the last time I went home for a visit. The only difference between our versions is that I think in American portions when I cook (giant portions) and that I do bake my empanadas.


2 package frozen pastry dough, thawed 
1 lb ground pork (or chicken and even turkey)
2 lb potatoes, pared and diced
1 small onion chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup diced sweet red pepper
1/2 cup green peas
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
4 shelled boiled eggs, sliced into eighths
2 tbsp melted butter 

1.Saute garlic and onion in the oil over medium heat until softened. Season 
   with salt and pepper. Add the meat and sauté until meat is browned. 
   Season with salt. Add the potatoes and cook covered until potatoes are 
   just tender for about 15-20 minutes. Check every now and then to make
   sure it cooks evenly. Add the soy sauce, red peppers, green peas and 
   raisin and cook for about 2 minutes.  Adjust seasoning if needed and let

2.Divide thawed pie dough into 4 and roll into balls. Flatten dough onto a 
   floured surface. Don’t make it too thin or it will fall apart.

3.Place two tbsps of the filling on one side of the dough and a slice of the 
   egg and fold the other side of the dough to form a crescent shaped pie. 
   Press edges with fork tines to seal. Do the same for the rest of the dough 
   and filling mix. Arrange turnovers on a cookie sheet lined with parchment
   paper. Brush with melted butter. 

4.Bake in preheated oven at 375°F for about 30-45 minutes or until pastry 
   dough is golden in color. Let cool and serve either warm or at room 


You can basically make around 8 to 10 turnovers/box of pie dough as there are 2 pastry dough per box. So you get 4-5 turnovers/dough.

I usually add a slice of boiled egg or if you can find boiled quail eggs, you can add half of a quail egg per turnover.

Empanada Filling
Copyright 2011 LtDan'skitchen blogs
The recipe above is very flexible. You do need the potato to act as a binder so don’t skimp on the potato. You can add more of the peppers, green peas or the raisin to taste. The red pepper gives it a sweet taste that you can’t get using green peppers so don’t substitute a green for the red pepper. You can also add more pork if you want it meatier.

Instead of melted butter, you can also brush the turnovers with milk. Do use a higher fat content of milk as you need the fat to achieve a golden brown color on the turnover during baking.

To cool them, I usually use a wooden chopping board. If you do have a cooling rack that has a tight mesh, all the better.

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