It is quite a challenge to determine when and where the empanada was created. When retracing the steps of the birthplace of the empanada, we find ourselves looking into several possible origins.
One possible origin places its birth back to 2500 B.C. in ancient Greece and believes it is a contemporary to bread. Another theory, which is more popular points to the Persian Empire. Tariq, the Berber Conquerer took empanadas - together with syrups, alfajores and puff pastries - during his expeditions to the Iberian Peninsula in the 8th century.
It was just a matter of time before each place started developing its own specific recipe, dough and name-: Italian calzone, British cornish pasty, flaky French chausson, empanada Gallega, Tunisian briks, the highly spiced Indian samosa, the peppery Jamaican patty and the phyllo-wrapped Middle Eastern borek, not forgetting the gut-filling New York classic - the knish. 1
In Latin America, the dough that enrobes a diversity of ingredients is generically known as the empanada. Nevertheless, there are clear differences between countries and you can even find variations within the same country. The most common differences include:
· Type of flour used in the dough
· Ingredients included
· The cooking method chosen (baked vs. fried)
· How the meat is cut (ground vs. diced)
Within Argentina, each region has its own representative filling. Here are the most representative ones:
- Salta: The filling includes potatoes, egg, onion, welsh onion, cumin, bell pepper and the meat is diced by hand
- Jujuy: With green beans
- Tucumán: The meat is diced by hand, raisins and it is cooked in broth.
- Córdoba: It is painted with a glaze made with egg and sugar
- Santiago del Estero: Similar to the Cordobesas, it is said this empanadas is the juiciest one
- Nordeste: It is common that the fillings include fish
- La Pampa: There are many different recipes, but egg, bell pepper and raisins are present in all of them
- Entre Ríos: They even have a rice pudding empanada recipe!
- Patagonia: One of the most popular fillings is lamb in the mountains, and seafood in the coastal area.
Nuchas' ARGENTINE empanada is a relfection of the most popular one.
Over time, the creativity and foodie-spirit has encouraged people to mix and match ingredients developing a wide array of options. That's the magic in the empanada: there are unlimited filling combinations. You'll just can't get enough!