An old-world form with new-world ingredients.

Tasty, tasty empanadas.

The word “empanada” can be used to describe any stuffed pastry. The name comes from the verb "empanar," meaning to wrap or coat in bread. With Spanish/Portueguese origins, the empanada has come to its own in South America, where each country has developed its own take on the food, which can serve the function of a light snack or a hearty meal, all depending on who is cooking it up.

In essence, an empanada consists of a dough and a filling. The dough can be made of white flour or yellow corn, can be baked or fried, and the stuffing can be anything from guava or banana to potatoes or spinach. Originally a Spanish/Porteuguese idea, empanadas as we know them today traveled from Europe to South America during the white man's conquest of the continent. Mixing an old-world form with new-world ingredients and gastronomic sensibilities, nearly every country in South America has developed its own take on the pastry, with locals and regional variations and heated argument about what the "right" to make this delicious food is.

I will focus the information here around the type of empanada which has a crispy, deep-fried corn shell and a savory filling. As a native Colombian, I belive that this is the highest expression of the artform. However, I do encourage everyone to take the information presented here and use it as a jumping-off point for their own empanada experimentation. There are exciting developments afoot in the world of avant-garde empanadas, and now is the time to be a part of that.

FRY ON, cats and kittens.