The scent coming from the oven makes you fall in love. It crosses through your pace, golden and enticing. You open the oven and see Peruvian empanadas–little, folded pies that not only fill you with desire, they elevate Peruvian gastronomy and overcomes its humble beginnings.
From the days of the Viceroyality, before independence from Spain, empanadas have enchanted the cities of Peru. They drove the Viceroy crazy with passion, to such an extent that he would perform as judge in the empanada contests. Contestants came from bakeries, pastry shops, and cloistered convents in the city of kings, Lima to compete to with the prize for the best empanada.
The empanada challenges were held around the feasts of Christmas. They filled the city with good spirits and with healthy competition. Through these, and the day-to-day baking in the city, five centuries of empanadas in Lima were consolidated.
During the decade of the nineties empanadas became very popular. People began to sell them from baskets and carts in the streets. The business became well accepted and the empanadas were offered at a modest price to clients. People did not hesitate to buy mare than one.
To the side you would always find a slice of lime to give the empanadas the touch of acidity that is so popular in Lima, along with the bit of hot pepper (rocoto). We are accustomed to eating hot peppers and lime juice in popular dishes such as ceviche; we take that custom to other foods such as empanadas.
Our old friend, the empanada, has accompanied us throughout our history of our city. It has saved us from hunger. With just a modest price it restores our stomach, even more so if we drink it down with a glass of chicha.
We find empanadas in bakeries, stores, supermarkets, gas stations, and many other establishments where people gather. Because of their flavor empanadas are wildly popular.
In reality, this food is not at all sophisticated. It is made from a pastry dough not unlike a puff pastry. The dough is rolled out and then cut into circles with a thickness of 2 mm. A thick stew of beef or chicken, onions, garlic, northern hot pepper, and fine wild herbs. The mass is closed in the form of a half moon. They are then sealed on the edges to avoid the escape of the filling. With a brush you bathe the surface of the dough with egg yolks to obtain the golden color of a finely made product once it is cooked. To serve the, you dust them with powdered sugar. After the first bite you add a few drops of lime juice directly to the inside of the empanada. It is nothing complicated though delicious.
With the passing of years, the emapanada Limeña has gone beyond its classic filling to become ever more sophisticated, thanks to the imagination of our great cooks it has become ever more sophisticated. As of now, the empanada has reached an extraordinary level. Our chefs have come up with the idea of filling empanadas with the best Peruvian dishes. These included duck seco, rice with chicken, pork adobo, aji de gallina, sangresita, chicharrón, anitcuchos, and many more.
Now there are many options to choose from. It is like eating small portions of the best of our Peruvian gastronomy in a small empanada. The best part is that when you order an empanada it is baked at that moment so that you get the best and freshest instantly.
This service is not given all over Lima. The author of the idea was a well known actor in Peru, a great lover of cooking, who was able to make this dream a reality. His place is found in Miraflores and is called El Buen Recado (Angamos Oeste 401, Miraflores). It is a tranquil place where you can go with your family and friends to enjoy some extraordinary empanadas.
While every country in Latin America has its own recipes for empanadas—some are fried and some are baked, they involve different kinds of dough with different textures, they have different sizes and colors, as well as different flavors, all of these things make a point in gastronomy. The singularity of our Peruvian empanadas, with their intense flavor, makes them among the best.