The curious origin of the Empanada

March 19, 2020 11:50 am Published by Nonna Maresca

Hasn’t it happened to you that just after you take the first bite out of an Empanada you feel like you want to thank the maker of this small and delicious miracle of cooking? The combination of the dough and the filling, whether it is an opulent and seasoned preparation of meats or vegetables, can easily be enjoyed to the end and it almost always leaves space and appetite for the next empanada. This is reason enough to celebrate this dish, which with certain variations can be found in different cultures, but then, who can be attributed to the creation of this wonder?

Even though there are several theories, the consensus is that the empanada was a creation of the ancient nomad people of the Middle East, who needed ways to keep food from going bad during their desert travels. We must remember that we also owe them the conservation of protein with oils, so in the search of alternatives, they might have thought the following: why don’t we protect our stews from weather variations and sand by keeping them in a recipient?

But instead of using their rustic tools, they thought of using a cover that would not alter the flavor and kept the isolation, so they thought of using the dough they used on their pieces of bread but baked for a short time. This way, when they wanted to eat their protein ration, they just heated the bread, opened it and took out their stews. This meant that: They didn’t eat the dough! Of course, it was only a matter of time before they started eating the dough with the filling, so from then on, we can say that the empanada was born.

This idea was so successful that it doesn’t matter if it is with traditional wheat dough, puff pastry, corn or rice dough, just to name a few of the most well-known ingredients. Each culture has adopted the idea of the empanada, and surely right in this very moment millions of people are enjoying one.

 

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