May 16th, 2013

Hand held dinner: Tuna and Chipotle Tuna Empanadas

Onehungrymama tuna empanadas

I’m obsessed with these.

I’m a sucker for hand held pies—especially if they can be made ahead and stored in the freezer for a quick dinner or school lunch—but I tend default to Mediterranean flavors, like with these Syrian-style Spinach Pies. I was recently inspired to take a new tack, though. A Latin approach. I was recently inspired to make these tuna and chipotle tuna empanadas.

And now I’m obsessed.

I made my empanada dough and it’s pretty easy if you’re a scratch cook. I used this recipe from Martha Stewart because it is relatively simple and, honestly, I had an open bag of masa harina from when I made homemade tortillas. Why not make use of it.

Even easier, of course, is to buy empanada wrappers. I’ve eaten empanadas made with the Goya discos and I like the taste a lot. I was sad to realize, though, that they are made with preservatives and a few other ingredients that I find questionable. Harumph.

Whatever you choose, once you have the dough sorted, the filling in embarrassingly easy. Four ingredients. No cooking. Then you bake the empanadas for about 15 minutes and dinner—and a future dinner and several school lunches—are done.

onehungrymama tuna empanada closeup

I’ve made these with plain canned tuna and they are delish. But—get ready!—I split my most recent batch of empanadas using two new-to-me products that are perfect for this recipe: Bumble Bee Prime Fillet Albacore Tuna with Jalapeños & Olive Oil and Bumble Bee Prime Fillet Albacore Tuna with Chipotle & Olive Oil. Holy yum!

The chipotle tuna (with which I’m also obsessed!) was a little too spicy for my kids, but the jalapeño went over well, even with the very, ahem, sensitive hungry baby.

Whatever. Tuna. Dough. Make these. Then freeze a bunch and make them again in minutes!

Obsessed.

Tuna Empanadas
(can be shared with kids 12+ mos)*
Makes enough filling for about 12 empanadas

Three 5-ounce cans of light tuna* or Bumble Bee Prime Fillet Albacore Tuna with Jalapeños & Olive Oil
1 hard boiled egg, chopped
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped green olives
3 tablespoons capers
Salt, to taste
Empanada dough (I used this recipe from Martha Stewart and used nearly all the dough)
1 egg, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, use a fork to combine tuna, cilantro, olives and capers well. Add salt to taste.

2. Pinch off a 2-inch ball of empanada dough and, on a clean surface, roll dough into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter, knife or an inverted glass to cut out 5-6″ circle (don’t stress about being too exact).

3. Place about 2 heaping tablespoons of tuna filling in the center of the circle (you can use more or less depending on the size of your dough circle; again, don’t stress about being exact). Dip your fingers in water and moisten all around the edge of the circle before folding the dough over to seal, pressing gently first with your fingers, then with a fork. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Place finished empanadas on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

4. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the top of the empanadas with whisked egg. Bake empanadas for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool and serve warm or cool completely and store in the fridge for up to 3 days or in a sealed ziplock in the freezer for up to 3 months.

*Note: While there is nothing in this that is unsafe for younger children, I save this for kids 12+ mos, which is when I first introduce meat protein, especially fish where there’s any concern about mercury. That said, canned tuna is relatively low in mercury, especially canned light tuna (which is lower in mercury than canned white tuna), and this filling can certainly be shared with younger eaters.

Chipotle Tuna Empanadas
(can be shared with kids 12+ mos)*
Makes enough filling for 12 empanadas

Three 5-ounce cans of Bumble Bee Prime Fillet Albacore Tuna with Chipotle & Olive Oil
1 hard boiled egg, chopped
1 tablespoon adobo or to taste (optional)
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped green olives
3 tablespoons capers
Salt, to taste
Empanada dough (I used this recipe from Martha Stewart and used nearly all the dough)
1 egg, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, use a fork to combine tuna, adobo, cilantro, olives and capers well. Add salt to taste.

2. Pinch off a 2-inch ball of empanada dough and, on a clean surface, roll dough into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter, knife or an inverted glass to cut out 5-6″ circle (don’t stress about being too exact).

3. Place about 2 heaping tablespoons of tuna filling in the center of the circle (you can use more or less depending on the size of your dough circle; again, don’t stress about being exact). Dip your fingers in water and moisten all around the edge of the circle before folding the dough over to seal, pressing gently first with your fingers, then with a fork. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Place finished empanadas on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

4. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the top of the empanadas with whisked egg. Bake empanadas for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool and serve warm or cool completely and store in the fridge for up to 3 days or in a sealed ziplock in the freezer for up to 3 months.

*Note: While there is nothing in this that is unsafe for younger children, I save this for kids 12+ mos, which is when I first introduce meat protein, especially fish where there’s any concern about mercury. Also, this chipotle tuna packs heat!

This post is sponsored by Bumble Bee, with whom I have compensated relationship. As part of our partnership, Bumble Bee has provided me with free products to experiment with recipes. I’m under no obligation to use any particular products in any particular way. All recipes and recipe ideas are my own and, of course, all product opinions are strictly my own. I decided to work with Bumble Bee since I’ve always purchased their products, as in, I spend my own money on Bumble Bee. As someone who eats a lot of canned tuna, I’m also a fan of the Bumble Bee commitment to furthering eco-friendly practices and using of BPA-free cans. Read more about One Hungry Mama and sponsorships here.