What can we say about empanadas that you don’t know already? They are artistic, in that golden, crescent-shaped way, delicious, and easy to make for EVERY occasion. If empanadas are not the love of your life already, you should definitely check your foodie priorities. 

We know that empanadas, like many other dishes, tell a great story that transcends cultures and geography. So, on behalf of our love for this Latin classic, let us tell you a bit about one of the Latin American favorites. 

They Say That All Roads Take Us To Rome…

Although empanadas have a long history dating back to Roman Iberia, it was in Latin America that they were transformed into the beloved dish we know today. 

Each country has put its own special touch on them, creating a wide variety of flavors and traditions.

Curious as it may sound, you don’t get to find empanadas all over the world but similar shapes, although made from different doughs and ways of prepping them. This shows that history may claim Roman Iberians as the creators, but we think that the need for creating this dish existed in many other cultures.  why although you get the traditional recipes in Latin America, many other cultures hold similar treats. 

It makes complete sense that this recipe makes a huge impact, given the fact that empanadas are easy to make and as versatile as you choose them to be. 

About Traditions And Fillings

Yes, as we said, empanadas can be as traditional as they can be versatile. That is, they can be adjusted to every taste and need. 

For example, during Lent and Semana Santa, the dough changes and so does the filling since most religious people do not eat meat during this time. So, empanadas are made with a dough known as “hojaldre” (kind of a puff paste) and the filling can be either fish or spinach. 

While many people enjoy these recipes, even out of Lent season, others enjoy a more traditional and juicy empanada. A very popular one, and for lots of people their favorite, comes from Argentina. 

The queen of Argentine empanadas is the one filled with juicy, seasoned, knife-cut beef. Yes! Now you get why it is one of the favorite empanadas around?t? In COCINA, we are big fans and this great beef empanada recipe will take you to the Southern part of the American continent.

Beef empanadas recipe by Cocina min - Cocina

In Argentina, you can also find other popular flavors ( like ham and cheese, chicken, and some of them are even veggie-friendly like the humita (creamed corn). 

In Chile, you can’t miss the “empanadas de pino.” Made with ground meat, caramelized onions, raisins, olives, and a touch of red wine, they’ll surprise you! Cheese empanadas are also well-loved. Whereas in Colombia, the most traditional empanadas are known as “aji de pollo” empanadas, with shredded chicken in a creamy aji pepper sauce. Beef and potato empanadas won’t disappoint either.

After your journey down South, which is your favorite one? 

You might think that this street food and its history is all there is, and you can picture yourself grabbing a soda or an orange juice and an empanada while walking down your favorite street but… as mentioned before, they also hold more than history, they are part of great traditions. 

In Argentina, for example, empanadas are the stars of family gatherings and celebrations like Independence Day. You can’t miss a good “picada” (a platter with a variety of cold cuts and cheeses) accompanied by these delights. The same goes for Chile, patriotic festivities are accompanied by this recipe. Like on their Fiestas Patrias, celebrated in September. They are enjoyed in outdoor picnics or at “ramadas” (typical food stalls).

On the other hand, in Colombia, “empanaditas” (small empanadas) are a very popular street food. They are sold from carts and are perfect for a quick and tasty bite. They have less to do with patriotic celebrations and more with the experience of their street culture. 

Didn’t we say they are as versatile as they come though? So, the perfect time to make, taste, and even share empanadas is… well, ALWAYS!  Empanadas are perfect for making ahead of time. You can make the dough and filling a day in advance, and then you just have to assemble and bake them before enjoying them. Ideal for parties or when you’re craving something delicious, whatever adventure you choose, they’ll be the best ally no doubt. 

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