Leftover Turkey Empanadas

Have you ever found yourself with heaps of leftover turkey after a big holiday meal? Fear not, as we have just the recipe for you—Leftover Turkey Empanadas! These delicious, handheld treats are a fantastic way to turn your surplus of turkey into a delightful and satisfying meal.

To make these empanadas, you’ll combine your leftover turkey with a mix of flavorsome ingredients, encased in a crisp and flaky pastry shell. It’s the perfect way to extend your holiday feast and transform the remnants of your dinner into an enticing new dish.

In the paragraphs below, we will delve into the steps needed to create these scrumptious Leftover Turkey Empanadas—guiding you through the process of chopping, mixing, folding, and baking until you have a batch of warm and tasty empanadas waiting to be devoured. Enjoy!

What you Need

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To make delicious Leftover Turkey Empanadas, gather the following ingredients:

  • Leftover turkey (shredded or chopped)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Stuffing
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Gravy
  • Egg wash
  • Puff pastry or refrigerated pie crusts
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • Fresh parsley (optional)
  • Unsalted butter or olive oil
  • Water or broth (optional)

Additionally, ensure you have these essential kitchen tools:

  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Mixing bowl
  • Rolling pin
  • Pastry round or cookie cutter
  • Fork
  • Small brush for egg wash

Start by preheating your oven to 375°F or 190°C. Make sure to line your baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent the empanadas from sticking.

Prepare the filling by combining your leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, diced onions, salt, pepper, and other desired seasonings. You can also add a hint of cumin or garlic for enhanced flavor. For a gooey twist, feel free to toss in some cheese. There’s no harm in experimenting with your favorite ingredients.

Roll out your pie crust or puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Use a pastry round or cookie cutter to cut out circles, each about 3-4 inches in diameter. Place one to two tablespoons of your turkey filling onto one side of each pastry round, along with a small dollop of cranberry sauce and gravy.

Fold the pastry round in half, creating a half-moon shape, and gently press the edges together with a fork. Lightly brush each empanada with egg wash and place them on your lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and crispy. Let them cool down for a few minutes – the enticing empanadas are now ready for you to enjoy!

Empanada Preparation

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Preparing the Filling

To prepare the filling for your leftover turkey empanadas, start by gathering the following ingredients:

  • Leftover turkey, shredded
  • Onions, finely chopped
  • Turkey gravy
  • Broth (chicken or turkey)

In a medium-sized pan, heat a little oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until they are soft and translucent. Mix in the shredded leftover turkey and stir to combines. Gradually add the turkey gravy and broth to the mixture. Let it simmer for a few minutes until you get your desired consistency. Set aside to cool while you prepare the dough.

Making the Dough

For the dough, you may choose between puff pastry, refrigerated pie crusts, or a homemade dough. To make homemade dough, you will need:

  • Flour
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Oil

In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Gradually add cold water and oil, mixing until the dough comes together. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide the dough into equal portions and roll them into balls. Use a rolling pin to flatten each ball into a pastry round with a thickness of about 1/8 inch.

Assembling the Empanadas

Before you start assembling, preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare the remaining filling components:

  • Stuffing
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Cheese (optional)

Additionally, prepare an egg wash by whisking one egg white with a teaspoon of water. To assemble the empanadas, place a spoonful of filling in the center of each pastry round. You may layer the leftover turkey mixture, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and cheese as desired. Fold the pastry over to create a half-moon shape and use a fork to crimp the edges to seal the empanada. Repeat until all empanadas are assembled.

Baking the Empanadas

Before baking your empanadas, brush the tops of them with the egg wash. This will help them achieve a golden brown color once baked. Place the empanadas on the lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t overcook. Once done, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool slightly before serving. Enjoy your delicious leftover turkey empanadas!

Storing and Using Leftovers

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When it comes to Thanksgiving leftovers, properly storing and using them can be a game-changer. To ensure the leftover turkey stays fresh and tasty, follow these storage tips:

  1. Allow the turkey to cool to room temperature before storing.
  2. Remove any stuffing from the turkey and store it separately.
  3. Wrap the leftover turkey tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
  4. Store the wrapped turkey in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag.
  5. Keep the turkey in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or freeze it for up to 3 months.

Now that your turkey is safely stored, it’s time to think about creative and delicious ways to use these leftovers. One tasty option is to make turkey empanadas. Below is a brief guide to making these delectable treats:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cooked turkey, vegetables, seasonings, and cheese.
  2. Roll out the dough and cut it into circles using a large cookie cutter or glass rim.
  3. Place a small amount of the filling mixture onto each dough circle.
  4. Fold the dough in half, covering the filling, and use a fork to seal the edges.
  5. Bake or fry the empanadas until they reach a golden brown color, roughly 20-25 minutes for baking or 3-4 minutes for frying.

Aside from empanadas, your holiday leftovers can be incorporated into various dishes:

  • Turkey sandwiches or wraps
  • Turkey potpie
  • Turkey and vegetable stir-fry
  • Turkey and rice soup
  • Turkey and pasta dishes

By storing your Thanksgiving leftovers properly and using them in mouth-watering recipes, you’ll ensure you make the most of the holiday’s delicious meals. So go ahead, get creative, and enjoy your leftover turkey in tasty and inventive empanadas!

Nutritional Value

Leftover Turkey Empanadas are not only a delicious way to repurpose your holiday leftovers, but also have a considerable nutritional value. In this section, we’ll discuss the main aspects of their nutritional content, including calories, fat, protein, and carbs.

In a typical serving of Leftover Turkey Empanadas (about 100 grams), you can expect approximately:

  • Calories: 250 kcal
  • Protein: 10 grams
  • Fat: 12 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 24 grams

These values, of course, can vary depending on the specific ingredients and preparation method used. Nonetheless, they give you a good idea of the nutritional breakdown of this tasty dish.

A noteworthy aspect to consider is the protein content, with turkey being a lean and nutritious source of protein. The presence of turkey in the recipe helps you meet your daily protein requirements, a vital macronutrient that supports muscle growth and repair, and a healthy immune system.

Concerning fat content, Leftover Turkey Empanadas do contain a moderate amount, predominantly from the dough (especially if it includes butter or lard) and the cooking oil. It’s important to remember that not all fats are bad; in fact, including some fat is essential for a balanced diet. When making empanadas, you can use healthier fat sources like olive or avocado oil to keep the nutritional quality high.

The carbohydrate content comes mainly from the dough, providing energy and helping fuel your body throughout the day. Including some vegetables in your empanada filling can increase the fiber content, making it more nutritious and beneficial for your digestive system.

Lastly, the nutrition information mentioned above is a guideline to help you understand this dish’s nutritional profile. It’s essential to keep in mind that, like any other food, moderation and balance are key when incorporating Leftover Turkey Empanadas into your diet.

Now that you’re familiar with the nutritional aspects of this recipe, you can confidently enjoy your Leftover Turkey Empanadas knowing their nutrient-rich properties and how they can fit into your daily meal plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What ingredients are needed for leftover turkey empanadas?

For turkey empanadas, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Leftover cooked turkey, shredded or in small pieces
  • Onion, finely chopped
  • Garlic, minced
  • Bell pepper, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground paprika
  • Empanada dough (recipe below)

How long should I bake the empanadas in the oven?

Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Bake the empanadas for about 20-25 minutes or until they turn golden brown. Make sure to keep an eye on them as the baking times may vary depending on the size of your empanadas and your oven.

Can I make turkey empanadas in an air fryer?

Yes, you can definitely make turkey empanadas in an air fryer. Preheat your air fryer to 350°F (180°C). Place the empanadas in the air fryer basket, making sure they don’t overlap. Cook them for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until golden brown.

What is the proper empanada dough recipe?

For the empanada dough, you’ll need:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup cold shortening or lard
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl, mix the water and vinegar. Gradually add this wet mixture to the dry ingredients while mixing until the dough comes together. Divide the dough into equal portions and shape them into discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before using.

What are some side dishes to pair with turkey empanadas?

Turkey empanadas pair well with a variety of side dishes such as:

  • Green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing
  • Tomato and avocado salad
  • Simple rice dishes like cilantro-lime rice or yellow rice
  • Grilled or steamed vegetables
  • Black or pinto beans seasoned with cumin and garlic

How can I store leftover empanadas?

To store leftover empanadas, let them cool completely first. Then, place them in an airtight container, separating each layer with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Store them in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, you can use your oven, air fryer, or microwave, though the oven or air fryer will yield the best results in restoring their crispiness.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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