Other than asado, empanadas are probaby Argentina’s most traditional food. They are also one of its most popular. They are widely available at restaurants, cafes, bakeries, pizzerias and, of course, empanada shops. I’ve always held that empanadas are the perfect food. They are portable, you can eat them anywhere (often with little mess), some are good hot or cold, eat one and it’s a snack, eat a few and you have a whole meal. Mike seems to have adopted this philosophy as he pretty much had an empanada or two (or three or four) every day we were in Argentina. Of course, he swore that mine are better than anything he tried, but he’s a smart man.
As far as I can tell there are three basic types of empanadas: fritas, al horno and souffle. Baked empanadas are most common and most popular, they are lower in fat, easier to make (deep friers are still a novelty in Argentina) and they can be eaten at room temperature or reheated without loss in quality. Fried empanadas are considered more traditional, and when we’ve had them we’ve remarked at how good they are. Still, I don’t think they are probably worth the extra calories. Souffle empanadas are a variant of fried empanadas, according to my quick research on the web they are made by taking the empanadas out of a cold refrigerator and quickly introducing them into very hot oil. The results are fluffier empanada with a drier dough. We only had them the last two days we were in Argentina, at an empanada place in La Plata called El Ladrillo (where my parents used to buy them decades ago) and they were amazingly good. Yep, even better than mine.
As for fillings, the standard ones are beef, chicken, ham and cheese and humita (corn). Also popular are Roquefort cheese (they must mix it with another cheese, I’d like to find out which), Napolitanas (with tomato, ham and cheese), onion and spinach. In some places we tried empanadas


One Comment on “Empanadas”

  1. Vanessa says:

    Pulled pork empanadas sound like a plan.
    🙁 I miss argentinian food.
    Alfajores are amazing. I think we might order some online from Havanna for Christmas treats.
    Also, you forgot to mention Yerba Mate’/Mate’ Cocido…
    Surely you came across it.
    It’s drank like tea, but actually comes from a certain type of rainforest tree, I think. Everyone drinks it in Argentina. And you can buy it at health food stores in North America, like Whole Foods. So I do.

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