A Brief History of Empanadas

These pastries, filled with seafood, meat, cheese, vegetables or fruit are wildly popular throughout Central and South America. Thought to have originated in Spain, where the Empanada Festival is part of Galician culture, the name comes from the verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat with bread. Variations of this form of portable meals are found in Cornish pasties, Italian calzones, or turnovers.

Most cultures have some sort of traditional "pocket" or meat pie food. It's quite simple - they're very portable, incredibly delicious and satisfying, and in the case of our traditional Chilean empanadas, they are a complete meal that is filling and fits in your hand.

Empanadas are the most popular food in Chile.  Every year for the Independence Day Festivities around September 18, many cities hold Empanada Contests to see who makes the best empanadas. The most popular of the many varieties of empanadas in Chile is the Empanada de "Pino" which is filled with beef, egg, and olive.

At Mary's Empanadas, we decided that since there are endless possibilities for empanada fillings and our menu could overwhelm customers if too large, we would stick to the best time-tested recipes and keep it simple: beef, chicken, napolitana (a Chilean favorite with ham, cheese, tomatoes, and Italian herbs), and the veggie, a Mary's Empanadas original.

If you've never tried an empanada, you simply must. They are quite literally a pocket of happiness!

What is an Empanada?