Cooking, Food

Cooking Around the World: Antigua, Bahama, Come on Empanada

In the fourth week of my “world food tour,” I teamed up two of the top eleven countries that start with A: Antigua and Argentina. Antigua provided Caribbean butter bread, and Argentina brought the main course: empanadas.

I used Laylita.com’s recipe for empanadas and this recipe for butter bread, although I combined techniques from a couple other recipes I had read previously. The empanadas were not much different taste-wise from standard ground beef tacos, but the hard-boiled egg slices were a surprisingly nice addition. I didn’t find the butter bread much different from any other white bread I’ve made… maybe I didn’t use enough butter.

What’s your favorite Antiguan/Argentinian food combination? Leave it in the comments below!

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2 comments on “Cooking Around the World: Antigua, Bahama, Come on Empanada

  1. Julian says:

    Hi there fellow A11n!

    > The empanadas were not much different taste-wise from standard ground beef tacos

    Then you need to tweak the recipe! :)

    Each Argentine province has a very distinct recipe that they use for empanadas. Of course, at the end of the day, whatever you like is always going to be the best choice for you but here’s what a “properly” made meat empanada should look like in the eyes of an Argentine.

    When you bite into it, a scalding hot red liquid should obliterate any part of your tongue that doesn’t already have 3rd degree burns (from eating the previous empanada). The red comes from tons of “pimentón dulce” (aka Paprika) and the liquidy texture comes from lard. If you’re not into destroying your digestive system by ingesting copious amounts of lard (who isn’t though), you can triple the amount of chopped onions which will increase the “liquid” inside the empanada. If the empanada doesn’t spill anything when you cut it and you still have the guts to call it an “empanada” then you risk death by public hanging. Also, it’s frowned upon to not end up with grease stains on your pants, please know this.

    Among other empanada flavors, you can find:

    Queso y cebolla: Mozzarella cheese, onions, scallions, boiled red pepper. This is one of my favorites though I prefer it without the grossness of the red pepper contaminating it.

    Jamon y queso: Ham and cheese. Note that not a single Argentina food contains cheddar so when a recipe says cheese, they mostly mean mozzarella. If somebody looks like you punched them in the face, they probably understood that you were attempting to put cheddar into an empanada. In such cases it’s best to just run for it and never come back (and remove that pic from your Instagram feed)

    Humita: Yellow corn, mozzarella, onions, sugar, milk. When done properly the corn’s taste will woo you like a medieval prince. If it’s too strong then you missed the spot.

    Verdura: Chard, spinach, ricotta cheese, egg, bechamel sauce. The latter being the key ingredient. If this one tastes too much of “plant”, then ease up on the chard. This one is a hit and miss; some places make it so like you believe that Dumbledore exists and is an actual person. Some places make it so that you want to scrape your scrotum with a rusted hinge. Try at your own risk.

    Carne cortada a cuchillo: Replaces ground beef with 1x1cm meat squares cut with a knife. Add cubed potatoes, scallions, boiled egg, and onions. By the way, “egg” in an empanada means chopped boiled egg.

    Pollo: Same as above but with chicken.

    Panceta y ciruela: Prunes, smoked bacon (usually cubed), scallions, mozzarella, onions, boiled red pepper.

    Roquefort: Roquefort, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese, onions, egg, whipping cream. This is one of those that when you eat them hot it’s amazing. Eat them cold and be ready to hit checkout on those brand new taste glands on Amazon because yours will cease to ever work again.

  2. When you bite into it, a scalding hot red liquid should obliterate any part of your tongue that doesn’t already have 3rd degree burns (from eating the previous empanada). The red comes from tons of “pimentón dulce” (aka Paprika) and the liquidy texture comes from lard. If you’re not into destroying your digestive system by ingesting copious amounts of lard (who isn’t though), you can triple the amount of chopped onions which will increase the “liquid” inside the empanada. If the empanada doesn’t spill anything when you cut it and you still have the guts to call it an “empanada” then you risk death by public hanging. Also, it’s frowned upon to not end up with grease stains on your pants, please know this.

    This was a very accurate retelling of our empanada experience, although I think I drained off too much liquid before filling them in order to avoid soggy crusts, because they were a little dry (but still scalding hot and bright red on the inside).

    Thanks for the other flavor suggestions; the next time I make empanadas, I am going to try the carne cortada a cuchillo variation.

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