Pork and Pumpkin Empanadas

Larry had his smoker going again over the weekend.  He smoked some ribs and a pork shoulder.  When he pulls out the smoker, he usually smokes a lot of meat at one time.  We are still working on the ribs, and we froze a lot of the pork.  What we didn’t freeze though, I shredded and turned into pork empanadas with pumpkin, spinach and almonds.  I love empanandas and can eat them anytime, any way.  They take some time to make, but they are well worth it when I do.  From Leftovers to Empanadas  With fall just around the corner and the weather being slightly cooler now, I thought it was the perfect time for something with a little pumpkin too.  I served my empanadas with a garlic flan and some rice with corn, onions, garlic, jalapeno and cilantro, and of course, wine.  I chose a red wine to accompany the meal since the the empanadas were a little on the heavier side.


Pork and Pumpkin Empanadas

The Dough

1 1/2 cups flour

6 TBSP COLD butter, cubed

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp sweet & spicy seasoning

1 tsp salt

1 egg

5-6 TBSP heavy whipping cream


Mix all the dry ingredients and the butter in the food processor until it is all blended together and crumbly.  Then add the egg and cream and continue to process until the dough forms into a ball.  Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.  When it is ready, roll the dough out to your desired shape on a slightly floured surface.

This is my basic dough recipe, minus the spices, for just about everything I make when I use a crust.


The Filling


1 1/2-2 lbs shredded pork

2 cups spinach, stems removed

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced fine

1/2 onion, diced fine

olive oil

2 cups pumpkin puree

salt & pepper to taste

1 tsp sweet & spicy seasoning, optional

1 tsp chili powder, or garlic chili powder

1 tsp allspice

1/2 cup almond slivers

2-3 TBSP brandy


Saute the onions, jalapeno and garlic in olive oil for about 3-4 minutes, or until the onions are soft and tender.  Then add the almond slivers and continue to cook for about another 2-3 minutes.



Add the spinach and spices and combine everything together well.



Add the shredded pork and mix everything together well.  Then add the pumpkin and mix well again.



Once everything is mixed together, add the brandy.  Let the mixture simmer at a low heat for about 5-7 minutes, then let it cool so you can spoon it into the empanada dough.


As the filling is cooling, roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface and cut to your desired shape.  I made these empanadas larger, since I was serving them for dinner.  If you want them more as a snack or an appetizer, use a smaller cutter.


I like my empanadas nice and full.  I added about 2 heaping TBSP of filling to each dough round, then carefully folded them over and pinched the edges together.  Then use a fork and press the edges together even more to seal them.


Once the empanadas are made, make an egg wash with 1 egg and just a splash of either milk or water, then brush over the empanadas.  Place them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before cooking.  You can pan fry them or bake them.  Each is a good method. I have done both, but I usually like them better pan fried.


Cook them in oil until they are golden brown on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Then serve them and top them however you like.  YUM!


This dough is definitely tried and true.  The key is to roll the dough as thin as possible, but yet still strong enough to hold your filling.  They are light, crispy, and flaky and just melt in your mouth.






Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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