Saturday, May 28, 2016

Luz's Inspired Puerto Rican Turkey Empanadas (makes 19 dumplings)

these empanadas are great with cold beer
Most of the ingredients for these empanadas recipe came from Luz who is Puerto Rican born. I worked with her beautiful daughter, Kiara, a medical assistant at a Boston health clinic. It took me nearly 6 months for Kiara to tell me what her mother uses in her recipe! She was so busy she kept forgetting to ask her mother. On my last day of work at the clinic Kiara brought in her mother's delicious home-made empanadas. Kiara briefly went over how her mother made them. Of course who needs exact measurements anyway! She said her mother uses King Arthur flour (type unknown), water and oil for the skin. She instructed me to boil some water with a pinch of salt. Add water to the flour, a little at a time until a dough is formed, then add a little oil. Once everything has bound together, knead and flatten a little piece of dough to make a disc. The filling consists of turkey, cilantro, salt, adobo, sazon package, Kraft cheese (yellow and white), tomato sauce and/or vodka sauce. This recipe may seem vague to some people but really it is more specific and thorough than what I normally get even from family! Now that I have some basic information I will play around with these ingredients in my kitchen! It helps that I know how they should taste. Thank you Luz and Kiara for sharing this recipe with me!

Luz's Inspired Puerto Rican Turkey Empanadas (makes 19 dumplings)

Empanada Dough (makes 19 dumpling skin)


2 cups King Arthur flour (self rising flour), plus a little more to dust and roll
About 3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp olive oil


Heat a cup of water to a boil. Turn heat off as soon as it boils and stir the salt into the heated water.
Put flour on a clean surface. Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour a little water into the flour. Work the water into the flour. Add a little more water to the flour until a dough is formed. Knead until the dough is soft and pliable, about 10 minutes. Drizzle oil and knead until the dough is smooth and soft. Cover the dough and let it rest for about 30 minutes.

*For the 2 cups of flour I used about 3/4 cup of water for this dough. It's best to plan on having a little extra water just in case.
*I have never weighed my dough out before but this time I want to try it in order to make equal pieces. I cut the dough and weighs each piece into 3/4 oz, this batch yields exactly 19 pieces.

Empanada Filling (makes 19 balls)


1/3 cup fried pancetta, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped scallion
1 medium tomato, deseeded, chopped (about 1 cup chopped)
1 package sazon con culantro y achiote (Goya brand)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chicken broth powder
1 lb ground turkey
2.5 oz shredded cheese
1 handful of cilantro leaves, chopped (about 1/2 cup chopped)


1) In a medium sized pan add the pancetta, onion and scallion. Saute about a minute over medium high heat until the onion is soft.
2) Add tomato. Saute about 2 minutes until the tomato is soft.
3) Add sazon, pepper, and broth. Stir until everything is well blended and turn off heat. Let the contents cool completely.

4) Mix the cooled contents to the turkey, cheese and cilantro. You can use anything to mix. I use a pair of chopsticks and a spatula to mix everything together.

5) Form 19 balls with the mixture.

*For the cheese I use Market Basket "Mexican four cheese". This has shredded cheddar, monterey jack, asadero and queso blanco cheeses.

empanadas ready to be fried
Making Empanadas

Roll each little dough piece into a disc. May dust with a little flour if needed. Add a ball of the filling in the center of the disc. Fold the sides together and pinch the center close. Slowly pinch the sides to seal up and release as much air out as possible. Put the finished empanada on a flour dusted plate and cover to prevent it from drying out. When all the empandas are completed. Deep fry them by heating oil in a pot. Once the oil is hot then add 2-3 empanadas at time. Remove once they are golden brown, about 3 1/2 to 4 minutes.

*Any leftover can be refrigerated and put in the toaster oven to reheat and crisp up again.

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