A chat with Gabriela of K-W Empanadas

A chat with Gabriela of K-W Empanadas

Italian panzarotti and their Sicilian cousin ’mpanatiggi, Jamaican patty, Cornish pasty, Mallorcan panades and Indian samosas and gujias: just about every country has its own form of a compact, hand-held street food that is a spiced and seasoned savoury stuffing contained by a baked or fried pastry.

In Argentina, they are called empanadas, a word which literally means “in bread” with the verb empanar meaning “to bake in bread or pastry.” Recalling your high school French, you’ll see “pain” (French for bread) in the pana of empanada.

The great thing about a good empanada, however, is that there should be a good balance of beef, chicken, or vegetable stuffing that is not overwhelmed by the dough. They can be stuffed with virtually anything and are versatile too: an empanada gallega is large enough to feed a family, while the diminutive, empanaditas, are little empanadas.

Gabriela Vera and empanada partner (Photo: WREats).

Gabriela Vera and empanada partner Gabriel Almada (Photo: WREats).

A name that resonates with many street-food lovers in Latin Europe and Latin America, the Argentine empanada is sometimes served in order to tame your hunger while you wait for the beef that is cooking slowly over an open-pit barbecue.

Pastry pockets holding delicious fillings (Photo: WREats).

Pastry pockets holding delicious fillings (Photo: WREats).

Here in Kitchener, Gabriella Vera runs a business called KW Empanadas preparing what she calls “homemade foods to go.” Creating empanadas by hand and baking them in the commercial kitchen facilities at downtown Kitchener’s Trinity United Church, Vera crimps the edges of the empanadas in a different way and labels them so you know that they are either chicken or beef.

For more information about ordering KW Empanadas, visit www.kwemapanadas.com.

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