Empanadas de Carne
Have you ever had an empanada? I’m sure you have. The better question is: What kind of empanadas have you had? Central American, South American or was it from Spain or Portugal? There are probably as many versions of an empanada as there are cookbooks on Spanish or Latin American cooking.
I’ve struggled with empanadas in the past. Not the filling, that’s easy. Not the dough, I purchase that at my local international market. Allow me to explain. My first experience with an Argentine empanada was the day I moved to Buenos Aires. I was at work in a shared office. Accommodating me temporarily while we waited for the permanent call center facility to be completed, Carrie, the account manager graciously offered up half of her desk. She’d been in the country for about a month and knew how to keep the room cool with an air-conditioning unit that was happier when it was off rather than on, how to get logged into the network and most importantly, what to do to get lunch delivered. And lucky for me, that meant my first workday lunch was an instant introduction to Solo Empanadas. The dancing empanadas became a familiar sight on the street but, when living in Argentina, one need no reminder that empanadas should be eaten at least once every few days.
Consuming empanadas was like having an espresso in the afternoon. It was just how a day in Buenos Aires rolled for me, weekends included.
My favorite were empanadas de jamon y queso. The ham and cheese empanadas I love have prosciutto ham and a combo of mozzarella and roquefort cheeses. OH MY is that a GREAT empanada! My 2nd favorite is this one, the empanada de carne. It’s filled with meat and other goodness, but first we need to get back to overcoming my empanada challenges.
See the beautiful edge on these uncooked empanadas? That’s called the Repulgue — the “braided” or folded edge of an empanada. Sometimes a repulgue indicates the filling. Different folds for cheese than for beef or corn, etc. Sometimes you’ll see the fold marked with the tines of a fork. But that’s for whimps! Whimps like me — until the other day that is. See, try as I might, I’ve never gotten the repulgue right. I had to either fall back to forking the darn things or the dumpling press tool. Sure, they tasted good, but they just weren’t right. Well, this time I was bound and determined to get it right! I had two days off and no plans, so there would be time to focus.
I looked for help. I didn’t have to go far. Christina’s blog, frombatoparis was my epiphany. I like checking in on her site, it’s beautiful and this video was just what I needed. Clearly shot and easy to follow. Rebecca Caro who writes From Argentina with Love was one of the first food blogs I found and have read without missing a beat ever since. She’s put up posts about empanadas numerous times and I watched her video on sealing an empanada again just for extra measure and virtual moral support.
And look at my success! I look like a real pro.
I think I can move back to Argentina now. If nothing else, I can get a job at Solo Empanadas dancing around 9 de Julio with an empanada costume on.
Or maybe this fills out my latest fantasy — a Treat Truck. I’d get a cool shiny truck and rather than hot dogs, pretzels and roasted chestnuts, I’ll produce Wontons/Dumplings, Empanadas, Samosas and Spanakopita. There’s already a hot dog enterprise in the area so rather than try to compete with a great dog, I’ll step it up just a bit and offer the hungry lunchtime masses something out of the ordinary with just enough variety to keep them coming back each workday.
Like all of my dreams, I have high aspirations. I envision moms at the pool with their kidlets all summer long looking for packaged snack-food relief. I’m pretty sure they’d run to the truck. And imagine all those busy bees stuck behind their pod walls, computer monitors glaring at them, eyes glazed over during yet another conference call, thinking about which item from the steam table in the cafeteria they’re going to choose or what chain restaurant they’re going to give their hard earned dollars to today when they could walk out to the street for some FRANtasticFood!
You know, somehow this doesn’t seem to far fetched.
In 2007 my career with a large, but shrinking high tech Fortune 50 \"left me,\" leaving a void in my life. While lamenting the loss and flying around the world looking for a new career to get married to, I discovered a way to use a familiar outlet during tough times -- writing. My blog-writing morphed into writing about my favorite past time -- Food! I purchase food, sell food, make food, watch food being made, broadcast meal preparation, photograph and blog about food. Like I said; Food! To change this standard text, you have to enter some information about your self in the Dashboard -> Users -> Your Profile box.