Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Empanada de Pavo (Galician-style Meat Pie with Turkey Filling), plus Turkey Cracklings!

We bought one turkey too many during the cooking-intensive holiday season and had to find a way to use it up. We were a little tired of roasting turkey yet again, seeing as we had already made roast turkey twice in a span of a few days. Good thing we chose Spanish cuisine as the theme for our New Year's Eve party, so we had a framework within which to work.

Our first idea was to make two dishes, one with the white meat and another with the dark.

We kept ping-ponging ideas back and forth for a couple of days, but none seemed to stick.

On the day that TS was butchering the turkey, I was standing around still volleying some ideas.

In the end, I got very impatient with it all and suggested that we just take the darn turkey out of the equation and make dinner with the dark meat.

I proceeded to do a quick sauté of the dark meat with white wine and cream and made that into a pasta sauce of sorts.

I was getting ready to attack the white meat -- when we seemed to hit on a winner dish.

We decided we wanted to make an empanada in the Galician-style, as seen in Culinaria Spain.

However, since Moorish Spain was not well-represented in our menu thus far, we decided to go with a Moorish-inspired turkey filling.

Not very Galician at all.

I guess one can say that I've Frankenstein-ed a dish yet again!

Moorish-inspired Turkey Filling

First off, getting all the meat from the turkey, as our extra turkey was a whole one.

turkey and "the timeless art of seduction"

I actually de-skinned the turkey, keeping the skin in one piece, as we had originally wanted to make a rolled, stuffed turkey breast wrapped in its own skin. Then, I took off all the meat from the bone. (Of course, we kept the bones and such to make stock.) I diced the turkey breasts for the empanada filling.

I browned the cubed breasts in batches in olive oil, making sure they weren't cooked through all the way, then set them aside.

dried figs in sherry wine

In the meantime, I soaked some chopped dried figs in sherry wine. We could've used raisins, but these dried figs have been staring us in the face for quite some time now, every single time we go into the pantry.

green olives, garlic, onions, chorizo, bay leaves, smoked paprika

In the same pan went some onions, garlic, bay leaves and chorizo.

We deglazed the pan with some sherry, white wine and stock. Then, the whole lot was flavored with sweet smoked paprika. The soaked dried figs went in, as well as chopped olives.

We threw in some peas as well for that "festive" look. Next, the dough.

But, wait!

Turkey Chicharon (Cracklings)

Just in case anybody out there is a stickler, "chicharon" with one R is the Filipino (not the Spanish) spelling of the word.

Since we didn't need the turkey skin for either this meat pie filling or the turkey pasta bake JS made for dinner, we rendered the fat and made crackling!

I salted them when the skin were nice and brown, and we ate them with chile-infused vinegar (sinamak).


The Crust

The crust for Galician-style empanada (recipe found in Culinaria Spain) was more bread-like than pastry-like.

It was made of flour, white wine, olive oil and water. The recipe also called for clarified butter, but we didn't have that on hand. As I was too lazy to make clarified butter, I simply omitted that and used more olive oil. I also found that I had to add more water, more than a mere "few tablespoons."

The dough was much hardier and tougher, not as elastic as a bread dough, or even as a pasta dough. It certainly felt different from any dough with which I've previously worked. I was a little unsure if it was coming together correctly. Once the dough came together, it had a little rest in the refrigerator.

Two paella pans, greased with butter.

On the day of the party, I was a little behind making these empanadas, so I was rolling out the dough as fast as I could.

This was not an easy task, as the dough was not very yielding at all. It was quite "tough", in fact. I had to roll out dough for two 14-inch empanadas, and by the end of it, I was sweating!

We used 2 paella pans for our empanada. These were 14-inch pans.

I must say, these paella pans are quite the buy! We've been using them for all sorts of things. It must be their large-enough size.

Rolled dough went into the pan, then some filling, then another piece of rolled dough for the top. A little egg wash action, and they were off into the oven.

I didn't exactly know how the crust was going to turn out, but I really liked it!

The filling was quite savory, the smoked paprika and the chorizo giving the white turkey meat a double boost in flavor, the olives lending a briny flavor, while the sherried figs and the peas gave it welcome touch of sweetness.

This crust was my favorite part of the empanada. Maybe I like it even better than a puff pastry crust? (Gasp!) We'll certainly be experimenting with other fillings for this empanada dough.

A hurried shot of the cut empanada before the guests dig in.

See the rest of our Spanish-themed New Year's Eve Menu here.

[eatingclub] Spanish
Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish "Omelette")
Roast Duck and Orange Crêpes with Orange-White Wine Sauce
Sardinas na Bangus (Milkfish in the style of Sardines)
Red Wine-braised Squid with Potatoes and Chorizo
Philippine Beef Salpicao (and a Spanish variation)
Stewed Tripe, Spanish-style
Lengua Estofada (Beef Tongue Braised in Red Wine and Veal Stock)
Bacalao con Patatas (Baked Salt Cod and Potatoes)
Salsa Romesco ("Queen of the Catalan Sauces!")
Grilled Calçots (Green Onions) with Salsa Romesco
Empanada de Pavo
(Galician-style Meat Pie with Turkey Filling), plus Turkey Cracklings!

Fideuá (Spanish Seafood Noodle "Paella")... and Paella
Cocido (Spanish Stew with Various Pork Cuts)
Slow-Roast Pork Shoulder, Two Ways

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Empanada de Pavo
(Galician-style Meat Pie with Turkey Filling)
Makes two (2) 12-inch or 14-inch pies

Moorish-inspired Turkey Filling
2 turkey breasts, cubed
2 large onions, diced
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
4 bay leaves
2 chorizo sausages, diced (approx. 1.2 lb total)
1/2 to 1 cup green olives, diced
1 package dried figs (284g)
(or, substitute with raisins)
1 cup frozen peas
sherry wine
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken/turkey stock

This makes a lot of filling. Feel free to halve the recipe to make just one empanada.

If using dried figs, chop the and soak in sherry wine.

In pan, heat olive oil over high heat. Brown turkey cubes (in batches if necessary). Set aside.

In the same pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, bay leaves and smoked paprika. Cook until onions have softened. Add chorizo and cook for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through.

Deglaze pan with sherry and/or white wine and scrape off browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock, green olives and soaked figs (including the soaking liquid) and bring to the boil.

Add the browned turkey meat and frozen peas. Cook over low until the turkey is cooked through. Adjust seasoning.

Let filling cool and set aside. cup of chicken stock

Dough recipe from Culinaria Spain
Makes enough for 1 12-inch to 14-inch pie

If making the full recipe of turkey filling, make two batches of the dough.

4 1/2 cups flour (500g)
1 tablespoon white wine
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon clarified butter
pinch of sugar

Sift flour into a wide bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the white wine, olive oil, clarified butter, salt, sugar and a few tablespoons of lukewarm water.

Note: I had to add quite a bit more than just a "few tablespoons" of water.

Knead all the ingredients into a flexible dough. Leave the dough to rest in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 400F (200C).

Divide dough into two. Roll out one half on a floured work surface and use it to line a buttered pie pan, making sure that the dough overlaps at the upper edge.

Add the filling. Roll out the remaining dough and lay it on top of the filling. Press together the edges of the dough. Brush with egg yolk and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown


  1. I want to dive into the picture with the fig!

  2. I am lusting... LUSTING... after those turkey skin crackling. And with chile-infused vinegar!

    Way to use up every last bit of the the good stuff!

  3. Mmm I love empanadas! Love this recipe. Thanks!

  4. Reminded me of x'mas again. Ok I know. Turkey is good lean meat, so should include in our diet more often as protein....

  5. Wow..that is yummy..I am sure everyone will love it.

  6. kat:
    At first, I wasn't sure if I was even going to include that photo in the post, since it's so blurry. But I guess I'm glad I did! =)

    It's only natural, this lust of yours. LOL.

    Thanks for visiting!

    Somehow or other, we never really use turkey in normal everyday cooking as well.



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