Empanadas  are stuffed bread or pastry filled with a number of different fillings, then oven baked or fried. With a wide array of sweet and savoury flavours, every filling is made better with a decadent homemade pastry surrounding it. They can serve as both a filling main course or a more decadent afternoon snack. The name comes from empanar, which in Spanish means to wrap or coat in bread. They are made by folding dough or bread patties around a filling, the fillings usually consist of meats, cheeses and vegetables. 
Many different cultures have their own type of hand pies; Scottish birdies, Jamaican beef patties, samosas, calzones, and empanadas! Empanadas have a rich history that has evolved over centuries and expanded across a variety of different cultures. These deliciously stuffed pastries have a diverse origin and a rich backstory. Though the exact origins of empanadas are still unknown and debated, their history can be traced back to mediaeval Spain and has evolved overtime to become a worldly dish. Most variations of the dish’s roots can be traced back to Galicia, Spain. 

The concept of enclosing food in dough can be traced back to ancient times, and similar dishes can be found in a variety of different cultures. They first appeared in Iberia during the Moorish occupation of the Iberian peninsula from the 8th to the 15th centuries. The Moors brought new ingredients and culinary techniques to Spain, including the concept of filled dough pastries. It is thought that they would have originally been developed as a modified version of a samosa. The Moors were known for spices and flavourful fillings and this influenced Spanish cuisine, especially in the development of empanadas. Spain's influence expanded across Europe in the coming centuries through trade and exploration, and with it the spread of empanadas. Different regions began adopting their own variations on the pastry, incorporating their own local ingredients and flavours. 

Spanish conquistadors carried empanadas with them to the New World during the Age of Exploration and that’s how they found their way to Latin America. They began as a quick workday lunch as they were easy to consume, and substantial enough to fuel workers, now they have become an important part of Argentinian culture. 

Every part of the world that makes empanadas have their own versions that have developed from local taste, ingredients and preferences. A typical Argentinian empanada typically consists of a flour-based dough with meat fillings. These are usually cubed or ground beef, ham, or chicken, but sometimes you can find hard-boiled eggs, olives, peppers, and onions in the fixture. Different regions also take different approaches to the cooking of the empanadas, some will fry and some will bake. Less commonly one can find fruit filled empanadas that stand as a delicious and indulgent dessert. 

In the beginning of their origins the typical empanada fillings were chicken and surprisingly tuna, with some bell peppers and onions. Now they can be filled with just about anything, usually you’ll find things like potatoes, vegetables, cheese, chicken, pork, beef, and seafood. These little crescent moon pockets can be incredibly difficult to make by hand, but so worth it for the authentic taste. The Deli Society artisan empanadas are made by hand in Spain and you can truly taste the difference in these from factory made options. 

As mentioned above, empanadas started out as larger pies that were cut up into single pieces. It’s unclear when this developed to smaller individual pastries, but this style began to be favoured. This style means that very little falls out of the pastry, where in a pie slice there would have been significant spillage. 
Spanish empanada dough typically consists of a few simple ingredients, generally flour, salt, butter, egg and water. These ingredients are combined and the dough is kneaded then refrigerated. The larger task of preparing empanadas is choosing from a plethora of filling options. Preparing the filling is a separate task and can often be done when the dough is cooling. The dough can be rolled out once it's done chilling, then cut into circles, around four to six inches in diameter. The little circle can be filled then folded to create a half moon shape around the filling. The edges can then be pressed together and crimped with a fork to secure them. If being baked then they should be brushed with egg wash to give them a nice golden colour once baked. Doesn’t sound too hard, but there is an art to this that we believe The Deli Society empanadas have perfected. 
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning all about these delightful pockets of flavour. They have a rich and unique history that spans back centuries. 

The Dough
Empanada dough is typically made from all-purpose flour, butter or lard, water and a pinch of salt. The dough is chilled then rolled out and cut into small circles where the savoury beef mixture is added and the circle is folded enclosing the mixture. To add a nice golden texture the empanada wil typically dressed in an egg wash, then popped into the oven. The result is flaky and buttery crust that provides a perfect contrast to the beefy well-seasoned filling. 

Beef empanadas are one of the most popular of the savoury filled pastries. Typically these will include seasoned ground beef, onions, spices, and sometimes other additional ingredients. A great additional ingredient to add is red and green bell peppers, as they enhance the taste and add an unexpected crunch to the filling. Traditional Spanish empanadas additionally include hard-boiled eggs and pitted green olives which add to their complex textures and flavours. Spices commonly used include smoked paprika, ground cumin, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.  Beef empanadas are loved across many cultures. Exact spices and additional ingredients typically vary depending on region as well as personal preferences. 

Spanish beef empanadas can be eaten on their own but are really nice with some additional sauces for dipping. A common accompaniment is chimichurri sauce, which is a tangy herb condiment that’s typically made up of parsley, garlic, vinegar, and oil.  

Pairs well with

    Your Cart