Empanada Night: Turkey or Spiced Beef

realsimpleThe Chef got adventurous last week, and cooked up two kinds of empanadas – Turkey, and Spiced Beef.

It was his first attempt at empanadas, and it was a great success.

He found the recipes on the Real Simple magazine website, and followed the instructions, with just a few tweaks.

Large and Small

The beef recipe created 24 mini empanadas, and the turkey recipe created 4 large ones. The chef split the filling, so we ended up with 12 minis and 2 large empanadas of each type.

The empanadas were brushed with an egg wash, and then baked, and they came out of the oven looking golden brown. We had an arugula and spinach salad on the side, to balance out the richness of the empanadas.

Ideas for Next Time

For sauces, we used sour cream and salsa, but ketchup and/or mustard might have been good too. There is plenty of flavour in the fillings, so you don’t need much else.

I don’t even want to think about the calorie count of this meal, but it delicious, and you can see the results in the picture below. If you’re watching your calories, you could make one of the fillings, with a bit more liquid, and serve over brown rice.

Freezing the Empanadas

The recipes each serve four, so we froze the large empanadas, and 12 of the small ones, unbaked. A few days later, we took a few small ones out of the freezer, then thawed and baked them. They were just as delicious as the original ones.

Our Baked Empanadas

Here is a picture of our tasty mini empanadas, and the side salad. The recipes are shown below.


Turkey Empanadas


  • 3  tbsp  olive oil
  • 3/4  pound  ground turkey
  • 1  onion, chopped
  • 1  clove garlic, chopped
  • 1  tsp  cumin
  • 1/3  cup  raisins
  • 1/2  cup  pitted olives
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2  refrigerated rolled piecrusts, halved


  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the turkey, onion, garlic, and cumin and cook, breaking the meat up with a spoon, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the raisins and olives; season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  5. Top the 4 piecrust halves with the turkey mixture; fold in half and seal the edges.
  6. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Serves 4

Spiced Beef Empanadas


  • 1  tbsp  olive oil
  • 1  small onion, chopped
  • 1/2  pound extra lean ground beef
  • 1/3  cup  golden raisins
  • 2  tbsp  ketchup
  • 1/4  tsp  ground cinnamon
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2  refrigerated rolled piecrusts
  • 1  large egg, beaten


  1. Heat oven to 375º F.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Stir in the raisins, ketchup, cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  6. Using a 2½-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles from the piecrusts.
  7. Divide the beef mixture among the circles, brush the edges with water, fold in half, and press with a fork to seal.
  8. Transfer to a baking sheet and brush with the egg. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Makes 24


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