Shellfish Empanadas

  • Serves

    makes 20

(Empanadas de Mariscos)

Empanadas were first mentioned in Chile in 1652, and were probably introduced there by the conquistadores. Today, these savory turnovers are a particularly popular Sunday fare.


For the Dough

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 14 cup shortening, cut into small pieces
  • 14 cup butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 eggs

For the Filling

  • 34 cup dry white wine
  • 2 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 2 dozen mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 lb. scallops
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 34 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 34 tsp. sweet paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying


Step 1

For the dough: Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Work in shortening and butter, using your fingers. Lightly beat together eggs and 1⁄2 cup water in a bowl, then work into flour mixture. Knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Step 2

For the filling: Place 1⁄2 cup of the wine in a medium saucepan. Add clams, cover, and steam over medium-high heat. Remove clams as shells open; set aside (discard any that don't open). Add mussels to cooking liquid, cover, and steam. Remove mussels as shells open; set aside (discard any that don't open). Strain and reserve cooking liquid. When cool, remove clams and mussels from shells and coarsely chop. Discard shells.

Step 3

Poach scallops in strained cooking liquid in a medium saucepan over medium heat until firm, 3–5 minutes. Remove scallops, reserving cooking liquid, and, when cool, coarsely chop and set aside.

Step 4

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Add cumin, oregano, and paprika, cook 1–2 minutes, then add shellfish, 1⁄2 cup reserved cooking liquid, and remaining 1⁄4 cup wine. Season with salt and pepper; simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 5

Shape empanada dough into 20 small balls. Roll each into a 6" round on a lightly floured surface. Place 2 tbsp. filling in the center of each, dampen edges with water, and fold to enclose filling. Press edges to seal. (Assembled empanadas may be frozen. Defrost before frying.)

Step 6

Heat 3⁄4" vegetable oil in skillet. Fry empanadas in batches, turning once, until golden, 1–2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm.

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