The name comes from the verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread … Empanadas have their origins in Galicia (Spain) and Portugal. They first appeared in Medieval Iberia during the time of the Moorish invasions. A cookbook published in Catalan in 1520 mentions empanadas filled with seafood among its recipes of Catalan, Italian, French, and Arabian food. It is believed that empanadas and the very similar calzones are both derived from the Arabic meat-filled pies, samosas. The dish was carried to Latin America and the Philippines by Spanish colonists, where they remain very popular to this day.
A dish truly borne of our collective human heritage!
Proxy guest post, because my friend Stephanie says she doesn’t like writing about herself. As one who loves all dough-wrapped dishes, she hosted the empanada-rama.
This recipe for dough won out:
Thanks, Laylita! How to Make Empanada Dough for Baking
Finalist for favorite filling combo:
Sweet Potato Black Bean Empanadas
#1 Favorite Filling Combo Tried:
Lamb direct from Orebanks Cattle Company, muled to us from Maryland by Stephanie.
+Arbitrary amounts of onion, garlic, shredded carrot, curry powder, 3 pinches salt, pepper, Maggi (your friend, MSG). Sautéed until al dente done.
This Trial Meal’s Rating:
Novelty: 5 of 5, I’ve only had baked empanadas from stores* and never home-made. It’s especially impressive they turned out so well considering it was Stephanie’s first time making them. She is well on her way to setting up a delicious things-wrapped-in-dough shop.
Likelihood of Repeat: 20% no idea when we’ll do this again..100% for the fried Filipino version, I think.
- You may be full after the first 1-2 empanada! Invite friends to help. You will all be rolling home. 😀
- Stephanie’s roommate, er, Steph said to ‘don’t forget to add Maggie,’ and I was like “who?!”
- Next time: try cheese. These were really good with greek yogurt dip. Steph liked sour cream.
- Make the dough and/or filling ahead of time to move up the bake-to-eat time.
- Baking can result in crusty flakiness that frying does not achieve.
- More butter was not better!? The other dough recipe we tried had more butter and no water, was harder to work with and somehow did not win the comparison by sheer poundage of butter.
- Once you forget which ones had what filling, you might find holes poked in all of them from your friend eagerly trying to figure out which ones are which. 😀
Other places to get empanadas:
- Manu’s Bodega in Pioneer Square. Mad props to Manu for keeping me in empanadas near my old office downtown.
- My father-in-law’s house in suburban Minneapolis.
- Has anyone had Pampeana’s empanadas at the U District Farmer’s Market?
- Among other countries, Chile & Argentina. Leave a comment below if you’d like a post on past food-travel adventures in Chile and Argentina, and what else you’d like to read about.
*I only went 75% of the way to fact-check these than usual. These sites could all be citing the same faulty source, contact me if you have more thorough info.