Take a bite of world cuisine with Sandra Gutierrez, author of Empanadas: The Hand-Held Pies of Latin America The empanada’s history traces back as far as 250 BC with the Persians. When the Ottoman empire took over Spanish territory, they also expanded the palate for the empanada. Wrapped in bread, the original empanada in Spain featured fish and onions. Since Sandra Gutierrez and I met at the White House garden, I asked her about specific herbs and spices used in empanadas.
Did you know that the empanada was truly the first culinary exchange of the New World and the Old World? According to Sandra Gutierrez, Spaniards had never seen a tomato or potato before landing in Latin America. The empanada reflects infusions of local cuisine in the various countries in Latin America. In Chile and Argentina, one will find more European characteristics in the food, so rosemary, oregano and thyme are key spices. Typical Latin American empanadas include beef, olives, raisins and hard boiled eggs. In Costa Rica, pineapple pies are popular.
As Sandra Gutierrez says, “Anything that’s leftover from dinner can go into an empanada. And anything that can go into pie or a sandwich can go into an empanada.” An empanada is a great way to help avoid food waste in one’s home kitchen. And Sandra provides easy to follow steps in making the dough for an empanada in her new cookbook, Empanadas: The Hand-Held Pies of Latin America.
What are your favorite empanadas?
Savor the day!