Kitchen & Pantry

Getting creative with empanada fillings

casaveneracion.com fried-empanadas5

The last time I wrote about empanadas, I was trying to decide which I liked better — baked or fried. I’m not sure if I’ve decided. Sometimes, I like them baked; other times, I crave for fried empanadas. But whether baked or fried, I like my empanadas to have tasty filling in generous amounts.

And when I say tasty filling, I don’t mean the same old things. Except for Ilocos empanada and Kowloon House’s chicken curry empanadas which I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of, I get bored with the filling of most commercially-sold empanadas. It’s always chicken and potatoes, ham and cheese, tuna, beef…

If you make empanadas at home, there really is no limit as to how many variations you can make with the filling. The trick? Stop thinking of empanada as a modified sandwich. Think of the crust as a generic carbohydrate just like pasta and rice and you’ll find ideas for the filling start racing through your mind. For example?

Eggs. Hard-boiled eggs.

casaveneracion.com empanada with hard-boiled egg and chili sauce filling

Halve them and combine them with sweet chili sauce.

casaveneracion.com empanada with hard-boiled egg and chili sauce filling

I should mention though that you’ll want to sprinkle the egg halves with salt before sealing the empanadas. I didn’t and Speedy found the egg filling a bit bland. But get the saltiness right and you have a great filling.

In fact, if you want to get more adventurous, make son-in-law eggs or eggs with chili tomato sauce and use that for your empanada filling.

So, I was saying earlier that if you think of the crust as a generic carbohydrate just like pasta and rice and you’ll find ideas for the filling start racing through your mind. Let’s do the pasta angle and think stroganoff.

casaveneracion.com empanada with stroganoff-style filling

Did you know that stroganoff is a fantastic empanada filling?

casaveneracion.com empanada with stroganoff-style filling

Creamy, buttery, delicious.

If stroganoff is a good empanada filling, so are a host of stews not usually associated with empanadas. Like what? Like beef bourguignon (beef Burgundy). If tuna salad works well as empanada filling, why not an even tastier fish concoction like cheese-topped salmon with pomodoro sauce?

The truth is, anything can go inside an empanada. You can even think of the filling as a creative way to use leftovers.

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