How To Use Thanksgiving Leftovers: Candied Yam Empanadas

Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday because gratefulness is such an underrated personality trait. I wish people admired that quality in others like they admire shoes and jewelry and waist size.

“She is SO grateful! I wish I had that.” 

We should start the day that like. Before we ever get out of bed, list the things you are thankful for.

If you aren’t feelin’ in a Thankful kinda mood right now, this’ll do it:

I’ve know quite a few survivors of the Nazi Holocaust. Most of whom are in their 90′s now. I know a man who was in Auschwitz concentration camp and went to the gas chamber. Twice. Both times, something was broken, and the entire chamber full of terrified, naked, sobbing Jewish men, women and children where told to go back to their cells. To this day, when something goes wrong, a toilet breaks, his phone service is down, his car needs work, he will always say, “Thank God for things that break! Broken pipes saved my life!” Nothing like a concentration camp story to put your life in perspective, right?!

No matter what you are facing, what is wrong, or what is hard to deal with. Take some time to think about what is right in your world. Hold the good closer than you hold the bad. I have so much to be thankful for, and I hope a day never comes that I stop thinking that. 

Every Thursday, not just the 4th Thursday in November, we should take some time and to list the things we are thankful for, no matter how long or short that list is. 

Oh, yeah, food. That’s why you’re here. These little guys are pretty fantastic. Plus, you don’t just have to limit them to your leftover candied yams, fill these with what ever you have. Other great empanada combos:

Turkey (chopped), mashed potatoes & gravy

Stuffing & cranberry sauce

Mac & Cheese

But, even if you didn’t make yams, or you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving and want to make these, I’ll give you an easy candied yam mash recipe that will be perfect for the filling.  

Thanksgiving Leftover Empanadas: Candied Yams

For The Dough:

2 1/4 cup flour

1 tsp salt

10 tbs butter, cold, cut into cubes

1 egg

1/3 cup ice water

For the Filling:

2 cups leftover candied yams, Mashed

OR

2 large yams, peeled and chopped (about 4 cups)

1/2 stick butter (4 tbs), chopped into cubes

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 cup pecans

Topping:

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 tsp salt

Put 1 1/2 cups of flour and the salt in a food processor, pulse for a second to combine. Add the butter and process until combined. Add the remaining flour and process again. Move to a bowl. In a small bowl, beat the egg and water together until well combined then add the egg/water to the dough with a wooden spoon. If you add the water and egg with the food processor, your dough will turn out crispy and cracker like.

Form into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400.

If you are using leftovers you can skip this next paragraph.

Place your chopped yams in a large loaf pan, sprinkle the top with cubes of butter. Drizzle with the maple syrup and then top with the brown sugar. 

Bake, uncovered at 400 for about 40 minutes or until the yams are fork tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit. Drain off most of the liquid (leaving about 2 tbs in the bottom of the pan). Mash with a potato masher until mixture until creamy, add the pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg and stir. 

Once your dough is chilled, roll it out to an even thickness on a flowered surface. Cut out 4 inch circles. I don’t have a 4 inch circle cutter, so I used a margarita glass. 

Brush the edges of each circle with water. Put about 2 tbs of filling in the middle, leaving the sides clear. Fold the circle over and press the edges together well to make a secure seal. Put three small slits on the top of the empanadas to allow steam to escape. Place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray (or covered with parchment paper). Brush the top with maple syrup, sprinkle with a small amount of salt. 

Bake at 400 for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. Eat, smile, be thankful. 



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13 Responses to How To Use Thanksgiving Leftovers: Candied Yam Empanadas

  1. Michelle November 21, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    These look fabulous! Such a great idea for making leftovers not leftover-y!

    • Jackie November 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

      I love the word “Leftover-y.” I’m going to start using that :)

  2. Tiffany November 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    Yams are not my favorite thing, but this might just work… like the sweet-empenadas idea.

    • Jackie November 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

      You can always make turkey/mashed potato/gravy empanadas :)

  3. Kim Bee November 21, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

    Okay I don’t know how to comment on food after a story like that. Thank goodness for broken pipes. I shall never gripe about things breaking again.

    ps food looks great.

  4. Ellie@fitforthesoul November 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

    wowwww I looove how you started this post!!! sooo true and amen to all that! Whenever there’s crazy traffic or a detour or some sort, my fiance and I always say, “well, maybe we’re being spared of some terrible accident, and that’s why we have to detour.” :)

    And I love this dish, it reminds me of some of my fave things from my homeland, Argentina~~

    • Jackie November 22, 2011 at 9:07 am #

      You’re fiance sounds wonderful, such a great outlook on life :)

      And, I bet you have some fantastic Empanada recipes!

    • Mary Ellen November 22, 2011 at 9:53 am #

      Actually these fruit empanadas are more indigenous to MEXICO than South America where most empanadas are meat rather than vegetable or fruit. If you are in Mexico go to any store and you will find an array of these empanadas. Mexicans rarely eat meat empanadas.

      • Jackie November 22, 2011 at 10:55 am #

        I’m not sure exactly where they originated, but empanadas are loved by many countries. The best fruit Empanada I ever had was in a small town Costa Rica. I have had quite a few in Mexico as well, really delicious! But my friends from South America have also made me some fantastic Empanadas. Where ever they come from, they are always welcome at my house :)

  5. Debbi Artist March 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    Just wanted to let you know that I made this today and it was so delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe.

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