Quick to eat, perfect for an aperitif, dinner or to take out for a picnic, healthy, varied and delicious fast food. This (and much more) is what we like about Argentine empanadas, that do not stop growing popularity in our country. In Spain we are very much of all this and, of course, we have quickly fallen at their feet.
Madrid and Barcelona concentrate the largest number of stores specialized in the production and sale of Argentine empanadas, around a hundred between them. And it is in Madrid where Chipa Original is located and its location in Bravo Murillo 204 we approach to see first-hand how the traditional Argentine empanada is made.
Federico and Gonzalo Yaya, founding partners of Chipa, welcome us. An industrial engineer the first and an architect the second, these Argentine brothers landed in Madrid four years ago with a clear objective: to fall in love with the gastronomy of their country. There are five Chipa Original stores with which they are getting it and this is just the beginning.
“We started with a food truck selling chips, some cheese and cassava buns typical of the north of Argentina and Paraguay, but it didn’t take long to open the first store on Calle Francos Rodríguez 10”, Federico tells us. “A place with a lot of pedestrian traffic due to its proximity to the Estrecho subway station that became very popular in a short time.”
At the request of the clientele, the chipas were joined by the Argentine empanadas. They started with four classic fillings, meat, chicken, caprese and ham and cheese, but today have 12 fixed references and the pie of the month. The latter varies depending on the season and the products available on the market.
In addition to this particularity, the Chipa Original empanadas measure 16 centimeters. A considerable size which, added to the generosity in the filling, makes one or two units (the latter for those who have a good serve) are enough to fill the stomach.
Argentine empanada tucumana, family recipe
“The Creole empanada is the most popular and the one we sell the most units. We prepare it following the family recipe of our aunt Olga, who has run a catering establishment in the province of Tucumán, northern Argentina, for 28 years. Her empanada tucumana is the specialty of the house. “
With an endorsement of this guise, the success of Chipa’s meat pie was almost guaranteed. But in order not to gamble one bit, Federico and Gonzalo always use top quality raw material. Choosing meat is key and for the tucumana empanada a specific piece called “matambre” is required. It is a typically Argentine cut that is obtained by separating the neck and ribs of the cow. It is a flat meat with fat on one side.
The stuffing issue
To prepare the stuffing for the tucuman empanada, you have to cook the matambre, with its fat, in a pot with plenty of water and salt for an hour or until it is tender. The resulting broth is saved, it will continue to be used, and the meat is defatted and it is chopped with a knife.
In an iron skillet we heat a little oil and between one and two tablespoons of cow lard. The butter adds a lot of juiciness to the filling, so it is not advisable to skimp because this is one of the characteristics of the Tucumán empanada.
“In Argentina we say that this is a pie that you have to eat with your legs open because its juiciness is such that it tends to drip and its juices can end up in your pants.”
A good quantity of chopped onion is added to the pan, minimum 70% of the amount of meat that has been used, and a little salt. When it begins to look translucent, sprinkle a good amount of sweet and spicy paprika and stir it so that it is well distributed. Immediately afterwards, the minced meat and part of the broth from the cooking of the meat are incorporated.
The broth does not have to cover the meat, but there does have to be enough so that the filling hydrate while cooking slowly. When there are no remains of broth in the pan, all that remains is to add chopped green olives, grated hard-boiled egg and remove from heat. The filling is topped with a generous amount of chopped chives (just the green part).
Ready the filling is essential let it cool before assembling the empanadas. The ideal? From one day to the next for the flavors to settle.
The secret is in the dough
For the Argentinian empanada dough We mix wheat flour, beef lard and broth from cooking the meat. For 500 g of flour we use 250 g of beef lard and between 200-220 ml of broth from the cooking of the meat. Knead for a couple of minutes, wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest to make it easier to handle later.
Once this is done, it only remains to stretch the dough finely, cut into discs and form the patties. The characteristic thing in Argentina is that each filling has a different rewind in the dough, in Chipa Original they use manual closers with three letters to differentiate the flavors. Manual repulses are wonderful, but not practical when producing large quantities of empanadas a day.
Finally, the tucuman empanadas are cooked at high temperature (180-200 ºC) in a clay oven shaped like a half sphere reminiscent of pizza ovens. The process is quick, since you only have to cook the dough, so as soon as they look golden, they are removed and ready to eat. They can also be fried in beef fat. To everyone’s taste.
- Guzmán el Bueno Street, 59
- Alcalá Street, 140
- Bravo Murillo Street, 204
- Francos Rodriguez Street, 10
- Alcala Street, 40
Price: € 2.20 per unit
Home orders: in his web page
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