From Thanksgiving Leftovers, Turkey Pumpkin Empanadas

Curry Pumpkin Empanada

Got leftovers? Transform them into something unexpected, like these pumpkin turkey empanadas. Spices including curry, cinnamon, and cumin give them a twist.

Few people love leftovers, but my moral compass prevents me from throwing away food simply because it might not taste as good reheated the next night. The key to making leftovers delicious is to turn them into something entirely new, and spices can play a big part in changing flavors.

This year, skip the turkey soup, turkey sandwich, and turkey pot pie the weekend after Thanksgiving. Instead, try these golden empanadas filled with curried pumpkin, sweet currants, and, yes, of course, turkey. The recipe originated from Sunset magazine’s pumpkin empanadas, which I served as a starter at last year’s Thanksgiving feast. They were so delicious that I tweaked the recipe this year to incorporate leftover turkey into these golden pockets for an atypical post-holiday treat.

How are you transforming leftovers into something great? Let us know in the comments.

Curry Pumpkin Empanada

Curried pumpkin and turkey empanadas

makes about 20 empanadas

1/4 cup currants
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup pureed pumpkin (or squash)
3/4 cup chopped turkey
salt, to taste
3 sheets store-bought pie crust
1 large egg
1 tablespoon of water

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Soak the currants in hot water for 10 minutes, allowing them to soften. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 2 minutes or until they are translucent. Stir in the spices and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the onions to a mixing bowl and add drained currants. Stir in the pumpkin puree (or squash, if using) and the turkey and mix to combine. Add salt to taste.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough out one sheet at a time into 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 4-inch ring cutter (or a large glass or bowl), cut out 20 circles. Ball up dough scraps and roll them out again to make more discs.

Arrange the dough discs on the baking sheets. Lightly beat the egg with water to make an egg wash and brush each disc with it. Drop a tablespoon of the pumpkin-turkey mixture into the center of each then fold it in half over itself. Seal the edges by pressing down on them with the tines of a fork.

Brush the top of each empanada with the remaining egg wash. Place them in the oven and bake until golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot with your favorite chutney or mojo verde sauce.

Curry Pumpkin Empanada

Curry Pumpkin Empanada

After adding a dollop of filling to each dough disc, fold the dough over and press the edges together with the tines of a fork.

Curry Pumpkin Empanada

Curry Pumpkin Empanada

Kate Filloramo has always had a knack for coming up with creative dishes. After marrying an Australian sailor, she began traveling the world while raising two young children. Those adventures broadened her palate and introduced an array of ingredients and culinary pleasures to her kitchen. Kate graduated from Roger Williams University, has taught school in Newport, RI, and has explored her passion for interior design at the Rhode Island School of Design. She currently lives with her family in Portsmouth, RI. Follow her food adventures on Instagram @forkandtwine.

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