Empanadas!! With so many variations, where did they come from?

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Casa Latina Blog/Food/Empanadas!! With so many variations, where did they come from?

Empanadas, a delicious treat popular in Latin America and Southern Europe, have a fascinating origin story. The name "empanada" comes from the verb "empanar," which means to wrap or coat in bread. These savoury pastries consist of a wheat or maize dough patty filled with a variety of meats, vegetables, or cheeses.

With their roots in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain & Portugal), empanadas can be traced back to Medieval times during the Moorish invasions. Originally inspired by Arabic meat-filled pies known in some countries as Fatay, empanadas made their way into the culinary traditions of Europe through the Mediterranean trade routes. Which then in turn came to Latin America with the settlers and colonisers.

You can find all sorts of variations depending on where you ask for an empanada, in Central America they will most often be covered in 'Harina Pan' a maize flour or even covered in a plantain wrap, for a sweet & savoury punch.
Yet in the southernmost countries of the continent you will find them delicately covered in a wheat flour parcel of joy.
There is no doubt in our minds that the reason for these variants is entirely reliant on what could the settlers and colonisers get their hands on to, As to try and replicate their favourite foods and snacks.

As for the fillings?

Well the sky is the limit, you do have classic protein rich traditional meat fillings like, beef, chicken, pork, beans, but today you can find a world of other options too, including fully vegan, veggie, cheesy and even desert options too!

Casa-Latina in Bristol, UK is the only place in the West Country that brings most empanada traditions to your plate, from Colombian, Ecuador & Venezuelan, to Argentinean, Chilean & Uruguayan ones.

So for a chance to taste the whole continent and its fantastic Empanada varieties, make sure to join us and taste any (or all) of these little beauties!
You won't regret it =)

Andres Atkinson

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​Soy Jose

Head Chef and Founder of Casa-Latina

All who know me,
know what a passionate man I am.
I love our Latin Culture and this is our space to share it with you.
​​In our Blog we will venture into various aspects of the varied diversity our heritage has to offer, join us to find out more about what we love!