An empanada (Spanish pronunciation: [empaˈnaða]) is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries of The Americas and in Spain. The name comes from the Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread.
Empanadas trace back their origins to the northwest region of Spain, Galicia. A cookbook published in Catalan in 1520, Libre del Coch by Robert de Nola, mentions empanadas filled with seafood in the recipes for Catalan, Italian, French, and Arabian food.
Argentine empanadas are often served during parties and festivals as a starter or main course. Shops specialize in freshly made empanadas, with many flavors and fillings.
The dough is made with wheat flour and beef drippings for the fillings which differs from province to province. Some places use chicken, and some places beef (cubed or ground depending on the region) spiced with cumin and paprika. Some other fillings are onion, boiled egg, olives, or raisins. Empanadas can be baked or fried. It also can contain ham, fish, humita (sweetcorn with white sauce), or spinach; a fruit filling is used to create a dessert empanada. For the interior regions, they can be spiced with peppers.
In those places (usually take-out shops) where several types are served, a repulgue, or pattern, is added to the pastry fold to distinguish the varieties (although it is more common nowadays to burn a letter – an abbreviated indication of the filling – into the dough). In larger cities, empanadas are eaten more as take-away food, sourced from restaurants specializing in this dish. They usually carry dozens of different varieties, which is not the case in northern provinces, where empanadas are usually made at home, with more traditional recipes.
In Belize, empanadas are known as panades. They are made with masa (corn dough) and typically stuffed with fish, chicken, or beans. They are usually deep fried and served with a cabbage or salsa topping. Panades are frequently sold as street food.
Cape Verde cuisine features the pastel, as well. Cape Verdean pastéis are often filled with spicy tuna fish. One particular variety, the pastel com o diabo dentro (literally: Pastel with the devil within), is particularly spicy, and is made with a dough made from sweet potatoes and cornmeal.
The empanada is considered the most symbolic food of the country. Salvador Allende, the President of Chile from 1970 to 1973, emphasized the national character of his political project saying that it would be a "revolution with the flavor of red wine, and the scent of an empanada".
Eating empanadas, especially the meat ones called "empanadas de pino", becomes more popular during September, the month that Chile celebrates las fiestas patrias or their independence. They are eaten during meals like asados or Chilean barbeques, and are accompanied with drinks like la chicha and red wine.[better source needed]
Meat empanadas ("de pino") are filled with ground beef, fried with white onion and are seasoned with garlic, hard-boiled eggs, olives, and sometimes raisins. This version is known as the typical baked Chilean empanada, although it can also be fried.
Seafood empanadas are filled with crab, clams, sea snails, or special oysters called crassostrea and cheese. Different seafood can be used, and they are mixed with chopped white onion.[better source needed]
Filipino empanadas usually contain ground beef, pork or chicken, potatoes, chopped onions, and raisins (somewhat similar to the Cuban picadillo) in a somewhat sweet, wheat flour bread. There are two kinds available: the baked sort and the flaky fried type. To lower costs, potatoes are often added as an extender, while another filling is kutsay, or garlic chives (kutsay in Cebuano and Tagalog; 韭菜 kú-chhài in Lan-nang).
The 'Mpanatigghi are stuffed, consisting of halfmoon-shaped panzarotti filled with a mixture of almonds, walnuts, chocolate, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and minced beef. These are typical of Modica, in the province of Ragusa, Sicily. They are also known as impanatiglie or dolce di carne ("pastry of meat").
They were probably introduced by the Spaniards during their rule in Sicily which took place in the sixteenth century; this is suggested from the etymology of the name which comes from the Spanish "empanadas or empadillas" (empanada), as well as from the somewhat unusual combination of meat and chocolate, which occurs several times in the Spanish culinary. In past centuries for the preparation of 'mpanatigghi game meat was used but today beef is used.
Empanadas, mainly based on South American recipes, are widely available in New York City from food carts, food trucks, and restaurants. Empanadas are usually found in U.S. areas with a large Hispanic population, like San Antonio, Texas and Los Angeles, California.
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