The summer holidays are a great time to get your kids into cooking – why not start with these Spanish-inspired treats? This empanada recipe is filled with spiced turkey, peppers and spinach and is an easy way to start practising basic kitchen skills, such as chopping veg and working with pastry. Don’t forget to screengrab the handy ingredients list at the bottom before you go shopping.
Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Roughly chop ½ small onion and 1 small peeled carrot into small pieces. To chop the onion half place it, cut-side down, on a board and use a small serrated knife to carefully make 6 vertical cuts, starting 1cm from the root. Firmly hold the onion with your thumb and fingers and cut 2cm away from your fingers. Turn the onion 90°, then carefully make 6 more cuts to roughly chop.
Slice 1 red pepper in half, cut out the core and deseed using a thin-edged tablespoon, then chop 1 half into small pieces. (Save the other half of the pepper and onion for another time.) Set aside.
Heat 2 tsp vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat until hot, then carefully add ½ x 250g pack turkey breast mince. Fry for 5 mins, using a wooden spoon to stir and break up the mince until there are no lumps. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 5 mins until softened and the meat is cooked. Add 2 tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp ground coriander, and a pinch of ground cumin. Add 50g baby spinach leaves and 1 tbsp tomato purée and stir well until the spinach has wilted. Remove from the heat and stir in 15g fresh chopped coriander and 100g salsa. Season with black pepper. Cool.
Put 500g pack shortcrust pastry on a lightly floured surface. Use a cutlery knife to score 16 equal rectangles on top – score the pastry in half lengthways, then score each side in half again. Repeat widthways. You can use a ruler to help. Cut the block into 16 rectangles and roll into balls.
Sprinkle a little flour under a ball, then roll out gently with a rolling pin, turning every so often, until about 5mm thick. Use a saucer as a guide to the size, if you like. Repeat to make 16 circles.
Dip a pastry brush in a little water and lightly brush all around the edge of the pastry circles. Don’t skip this step as it helps the empanadas stick together. Place 1 tbsp filling onto 1 half of each circle, leaving a 1cm border from the edge – make sure the filling doesn’t cover the brushed edges. Fold the other side of the pastry over the filling and gently press the edges together with your fingers to seal. Repeat to fill all the circles.
Press a fork around the sealed edges of each empanada to make lines – this gives the empanadas an authentic look. Space apart on 2 nonstick baking sheets, then lightly brush with 1½ tbsp milk.
Bake the empanadas for 18-20 mins until golden and crisp at the edges. Cool on the sheets for 5 mins. Serve as a treat, with extra salsa, half fat soured cream and lime wedges, if you like.
We’ve used turkey mince because it’s leaner, but you can make more traditional empanadas by swapping for the same amount of beef mince – or replace with chopped butternut squash, for a delicious veggie version.
Adults should always supervise cooking and carry out any steps using sharp knives. Start children off with simple tasks and always closely monitor them when cutting, chopping or grating. They should only use small serrated knives. When grating, make sure they stop well before they reach the end of the ingredient.
Never allow children to take things in and out of the oven. Adults should demonstrate safe practice by using oven gloves.
Kids should wash their hands before and after cooking, and in between tasks, especially if handling raw food, particularly eggs, meat and fish.
We've made a handy shopping list so you can get everything you need for these turkey empanadas. Don't forget to screenshot before you go shopping!
½ small onion 1 small carrot, peeled ½ red pepper 2 tsp vegetable oil ½ x 250g pack turkey breast mince 2 tsp dried oregano ½ tsp ground coriander pinch of ground cumin 50g baby spinach leaves 1 tbsp tomato purée 15g fresh coriander, chopped 100g salsa, plus extra to serve 500g pack shortcrust pastry 1½ tbsp milk, for brushing half-fat soured cream, to serve (optional) lime wedges, to serve (optional)
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