About empanadas

Empanadas are made by folding dough over a filling and then cooking the resulting turnover either by baking or frying. Their name comes from the spanish verb empanar, which means
to wrap or coat in bread.

When you travel the world you see them called by different names and shapes. Many cultures and countries around the world have some version of a pastry or dough stuffed with sweet or savoury fillings: dumplings, pierogies, samosas, hand pies, turnovers, British or Cornish pasties, and many more.

Still, most of these variations of empanadas have their roots in Galicia, Spain. They first appeared during the Moorish invasions in Medieval Iberia and they never left! There’s a cookbook from 1520s Catalonia that describes regional Catalan, French, Italian and Arabian food and it mentions empanadas by name. In Galicia and Portugal, empanadas were usually baked as oversized pie and were used to feed the local labourers, the pies cut into large pieces so workers could transport them more easily.

Eventually the great Spanish Empire carried them to Latin America and, after a couple centuries,
they turned themselves into one of the most enjoyed foods around the region
since they are so hearty and portable.

In Argentina, where we are from, empanadas became such popular dish that you grow up eating them. They compete against pizza every Friday night when nobody wants to cook but everybody wants to eat something yum. And they are also present in most celebrations: anniversaries, birthday parties, national holidays, school fairs, fundraisers, or as an entrée before an asado on a Sunday! (Argentinean for BBQ).

North to South, East to West, you will find empanadas all around the country, each region with its own version and its own charm: meat and potatoes in the Nortwest; raisins in the centre of the country; double onion with meat in the Cuyo region; fried in lard in most of the territory, or otherwise baked in a scorching hot oven. That’s how they sometimes get their spots!

Empanadas are such a versatile dish that they can be served alone or with dipping sauces (chimichurri sauce is one of the most popular) and they can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

One can have them as appetisers or snacks, but these hand-held stuffed pastry pockets can also easily make a full and satisfying meal. Their glory is that they are so tasty, practical to eat and to carry, and have an endless kind of fillings, so you never get bored of eating them!