As we mentioned yesterday, last week we visited with our friends in Playas. We have some friends that live in San Alejo who lived in Playas before coming up our way and when they heard that we were going to Playas they told us, “You have to go to the empanada restaurant there. They have the best empanadas we have ever eaten.” We already knew about those empanadas and made sure to visit there one day.
We made our first trip to Playas almost two years ago and we stayed at a hostel one block form this empanada shop. Generally speaking empanadas are nothing too special. They are simply a deep fried pastry filled with meat or cheese. Often the pastry is overly greasy and the fillings are not too tasty, so it was quite a surprise when we tasted these empanadas. They were crispy and filled with very tasty meat and cheese.
The menu is simple.
We have found that the chicken (pollo) is our favorite, but I also like the napolitana and our friend Bob likes the cheese and shrimp (queso y camaron). We promised our friends from San Alejo that we would try to talk to the people in the kitchen to see if there is some secret that sets these empanadas apart from the norm. So, I asked for permission to take pictures in the kitchen.
But, there is no real secret ingredient. The ladies told me the dough is made up of harina de trigo, un poco sal, agua, y manteca. (That’s flour, salt, water and lard.) The ladies were not too specific on how much of each ingredient is included in the mix. I got the feeling that it is pretty much a thing they know without messing with exact measurements. The dough looks like pie crust dough and the ladies prepare a huge bowlful of the dough each morning.
They roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and cut it into a circle about six inches in diameter. The fillings are piled up in the circle and then they fold over the dough and tamp down the edges. It only takes a minute or so in the hot oil and the empanadas are ready to serve up!
Simple, but very tasty to be sure. We learned that Chilean empanadas generally have slices of hard boiled eggs inside and, sure enough, there were plenty of eggs on hand in the kitchen.
The staff there is very friendly and answered all of my questions.
We got several different types of empanadas and brought them back to the condo to eat with Bob and Glenda.
So, there you have it. Some of the very best empanadas we have ever tasted. At $1.30 each we could afford to splurge!
Life is good in Ecuador!