In Adrogue, there is a house. And in that house there is a woman. And that woman makes amazing empanadas.
Not only that, but she is willing to share this wisdom with anybody who takes her empanadas cooking class so you can recreate her mini masterpieces in the comforts of your own home.
Terestia, runs the two hour class from the kitchen of her beautiful country house. Upon my arrival, I was handed an apron and introduced to the other participants in the small class. With there being only six of us, it was an intimate occasion with plenty of friendly banter and lots of empanadas to go around.
Empanadas were one of the first things I tried upon my arrival to Buenos Aires. I try to buy them from different bakeries whenever possible as part of my quest to find the best ones in town. As a vegetarian, my choices are a little limited but I was happy to learn that Teresita teaches you to prepare two different types, meat and corn, and in two different ways, oven baked or deep fried.
The class is conducted in English, and covers every aspect of the cooking process, right down to how to chop the ingredients – Terestia has devised an ingenious method for slicing onions. Yet, it unfortunately doesn’t stop the tears from rolling. We arduously chopped, sliced and diced bell peppers, corn on the cobs, and anonymous long green vegetables (potentially spring onions?). After the fillings are prepared, they are frozen, as they need to be cold when they are wrapped in the dough. Teresita says it is best to prepare them the night before and allow then to cool slower in the fridge but because we were pushed for time, the freezer was the way forward.
The dough is a simple recipe, and extremely fun to make. We mixed, rolled and flattened enough for just under 60 empanadas before starting to fill them. I was more of a spectator during the preparation of the meat ones, but learnt how to fill and seal perfectly the corn empanadas, including the professional “rope” finish – which is not easy, by the way.
As they were cooking, our hostess and teacher provided us with a glass of delicious wine and gave us tips on how to tell if the grape is good. We also listened as she explained some of the regional variations of empanadas and gave us tips on where to buy the freshest spices in Buenos Aires. She prepared a table for us in the picturesque garden and as we took our seats, the empanadas came rolling out.
The deep fried empanadas were topped with sugar and were absolutely spectacular. The oven bakes ones, placed in the oven at the hottest temperature possible and served on a warm plate. I felt so satisfied afterwards that I didn’t want to move. Cooking is a really relaxing and typically Argentine activity and it was the perfect morning – good company, good wine and great food – which I can recommend to anyone.
The class costs US$45. Adrogue is approximately half an hour from Buenos Aires on the train from Constitución. The empanadas class is only one of the many offered by Teresita – more information is available at www.try2cook.com