Last Sunday I was ready to make some turkey filo rolls…and realised I had no filo pastry. I had instead bought puff pastry. ‘Never fear‘, I told my spouse excitedly ‘We can make empanadas!’. Famous last words.

How empanadas should look. My not-quite-empanada hybrids did not turn out like this.

We had no recipe or instructions to work with, neither of us has made empanadas before, and we were starving so didn’t bother to look up how to make them. ‘They’re basically tiny South American pasties, right? How hard could it be?’ We naïvely said.  We gave it a good go, and it’s the thought that counts, right?

Whilst these ’empanadas’ were little more than wonky turkey-filled pastry blobs, they tasted amazing. Turns out empanadas have a special type of dough that is much crispier than puff pastry, so I would recommend using that for a more authentic South American experience. That said, I’m going to not-quite name these puff-empanadas hybrids after the food they were intended to resemble.

These are great as snacks or as a main meal. You can make the pastry parcels smaller for a starter, or serve with an avocado and goat’s cheese salad as a main!

FURTHER EXCITEMENT: I bought a new food processor at the weekend, so I am now using it for everything. Ken the Kenwood MultiPro is now my essential kitchen utensil.


Ken, my kitchen bae.


To create this not-quite-South American snack you need:

500g turkey mince

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you like heat!)

1/2 tsp turmeric

Sea salt to taste

1 egg, whisked

1 pack puff pastry, divided into 8 rectangles

To eat these empanadas you have to:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Add onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, paprika, pepper, cayenne, turmeric and salt to a food processor (or to a bowl after they are finely chopped) and mix well.
  3. Add Turkey to the processor (or bowl) and mix until evenly distributed.
  4. Add half the whisked egg to the turkey mixture and mix well.
  5. Place pastry on a baking tray covered with greaseproof paper, and divide into 8 rectangles.
  6. Spoon turkey mixture into the middle of the 8 pastry rectangles into a little sauage shape. Take opposite corners of the pastry and wrap over the turkey so the pastry makes little triangular/pasty shaped pouches.
  7. Cover the pouches in the other half of the whisked egg.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Enjoy hot, with sweet chilli and mango dipping sauce.

If you have any spare mixture, add some breadcrumbs and make meatballs to have later! Bake in the oven for 25-30 mins in an oven proof dish. The meatballs store well in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Hopefully, your attempts will look better than mine! If you make them, let me know!