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National Empanada Day

Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this week was National Empanada Day; a delicious way to celebrate a one-of-a-kind pastry. Monday, April 8th was the day this celebration took place, but it’s always a good day to enjoy a delectable treat.

Having an empanada is the perfect addition to anyone’s day. With its crunchy exterior and a tender mix of warmly spiced ground beef and vegetables inside, this treat is an all-around delight. While still considered a pastry, this is a nice break in the otherwise sweet world of goods. Instead of a sweet treat, empanadas remain a great savory food. They also remain a versatile and unique food due to its shaping and variety of filling. A quick run to the store and one can fill their empanadas with beef, chicken, pork, tuna, steak, cheese, and vegetables to make various empanadas in celebration of this day.

But where did empanadas originate from? Empanadas have their origins in Galicia, a region in Spain, and Portugal. They have surprisingly been around for centuries, dating back to a published cookbook in Catalan in the 1520s. According to a cookbook, empanadas are filled with seafood among its recipes of Catalan, Italian, French, and Arabian food. In Argentinian history, the empanada was once known as the working man’s meal because it contained a full meal that was easy to carry to work. However, empanadas have expanded in many ways. Today the empanada is one of Chile’s main traditional dishes and is a genuine symbol of national celebrations that is usually shared between families on Sunday. 

There are many different delectable ways to make this dish, but here is a traditional recipe for a homemade empanada, resemblent of Chile. Ingredients include:

. 1 tablespoon of butter

. 1 large onion, chopped 

. 1 teaspoon of minced garlic

. 1 teaspoon dried oregano

. 1 teaspoon cumin 

. ½ teaspoon of salt

. ½ teaspoon of ground pepper

. 1 pound of pork (ground) or any other choice of meat

. 1 cup of raisins 

. 1 cup of chopped black olives 

. 3 large hard-cooked eggs, chopped 

. 1 cup of water 

. 1 teaspoon of cornstarch 

After all of these fillings are gathered (most are interchangeable) you can move on to the dough of the empanada

. 1 cup of lukewarm milk

. 1 cup shortening, melted 

. 5 cups of all-purpose flour 

. 2 teaspoons salt

. 2 large eggs, beaten

Lastly, is the preparation which only includes six steps to create these delicious Chile-inspired empanadas.

Step 1: make the filling: Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add in any onion, garlic, peppers, etc., and saute until golden for at least 5-7 minutes. Then add the pork (or other chosen meat option) and cook until fully done, drain the grease, and stir in raisins, olives, and hard eggs.

Step 2: Whisk water and cornstarch together in a small bowl; pour into the skillet and stir until liquid thickens. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Step 3: Make the dough: Whisk milk and melted shortening together in a bowl until evenly blended. Stir flour and salt together in a separate large bowl. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture; whisk until well combined and a dough forms. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Step 4: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

And for the last two steps shape the empanadas and bake until golden brown.

Make sure to use this recipe, or others to enjoy a delicious treat!

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