Santo Domingo. Empanadas in the Dominican Republic have long been a street-fry that is easy to find in small, informal stalls on a regular basis. Its most common prices range from 25 to 50 pesos, depending on the ingredients used in its preparation, the size and place of sale.
Cheese, ham, cheese, eggs, chicken, vegetables, ground beef, and a combination thereof, are the typical ingredients for stir fry on the streets, especially in the neighborhoods.
However, in recent years, this product has been constantly evolving, both in the way it is prepared, in the way it is cooked, and in the ingredients used for the dough or the filling. They can be found made from corn, wheat, or cassava flour, and likewise, they can be fried or baked and their accompanying sauces go beyond ketchup and mayonnaise.
In Santo Domingo, there are several places that have gradually gained ground in creating empanadas and distinguishing before and after in this famous product.
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“Las Empanadas” is a local company, which already has two branches to date, dedicated to the exclusive sale of the aforementioned tapas and which has quickly gained popularity thanks to the exotic and innovative menu that they offer. Although they do not consider themselves the pioneers of the idea in the country, they maintain that their mix is unique and creative.
According to Victor Nicholas Milad, the owner of the place, the concept of its creation arose from the need to modernize this place, “If you go to any empanada stand, you will find the traditional and what we’ve been eating all our lives. That’s how we came up with the idea of doing something different, creating new fillings, categorizing them well, and combining them with unusual sauces,” he explained.
Its menu consists of more than 25 types of fried pies ranging from 150 to 200 pesos and is constantly growing, every month they release a new variety based on a typical dish or food that already exists or has been entirely invented, to keep the crowd “actively curious”.
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The top 5 most popular pies consumed due to the originality of their combinations consist of:
- “La Empanada”, prepared with Danish cheese, bacon, smoked ham and Genoese salami.
- “4 cheese” stuffed with mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, manchego and parmesan.
- “La de chicharrón”, which consists on the inside of mashed ripe plantain, ham rinds and Dutch cheese.
- “Silito Lindo”, with refried beans, cheese, cheddar cheese, corn and ground beef.
- “La Glory”, assorted with grilled chicken, four cheese sauce and corn.
They also serve other items such as “La Capra,” made with goat cheese and caramelized onions, “La Cubana,” stuffed with flavored pork leg, ham, and Swiss cheese, and “Polo Cordon Bleu,” which has chicken breast, ham, cheese, and béchamel sauce.
These fried foods are usually accompanied by two types of seasonings or sauces to choose from, which can be spicy or garlic.
Being a meal mostly consumed by Dominicans for breakfast or dinner, it is customary for empanadas to be prepared with savory ingredients, but, as nowadays, what is less in demand is the ‘traditional’ How about a sweet empanada? Well, it is also present and accompanied by chocolate, fruits and other ingredients.
Among the sweet combinations offered by “Las Empanadas” are chocolate cake with Nutella and guava with cheese cream.
Like the salty ones, they are consumed in abundance, however, and the demand does not match. “New customers are always a bit hesitant because they don’t envision the idea of eating an empanada with a sweet filling, but once they try it, they leave very satisfied and happy with the product,” said chef Alfredo Herrera Escobar.
Many will ask, isn’t there a problem with frying chocolate? And the answer is no, because it is not fried, and the dough you cover it with keeps it. It transmits the heat that the fillings need to melt and combine, but without coming into contact with the oil, butter, or other product that surrounds them.
- Place the round dough on a flat surface sprinkled with flour. Half of this circle should be filled with the ingredients of your choice, and it can also be placed in the middle of the dough.
- With a mixture of flour, water and salt, the edges of the dough are moistened and later folded into a crescent shape.
- In “Las Empanadas” a semi-automatic sealing machine is used, which ensures that the edges are perfectly aligned, avoiding spillage of the filling or penetration of the oil.
- The name of each product is stamped on the masses to distinguish them and avoid confusion. These stamps have become part of the personal branding of @employee.
- Each raw product is put into separator bags to maintain cleanliness and quality and prevent them from sticking together; Then they are taken to cold rooms for preservation and later transportation.
- From that moment on, the pancakes are ready to be fried.
Every day in “Las Empanadas” between 1000 and 1500 empanadas are prepared which are distributed in its two branches and intend to expand in other parts of the country such as Santo Domingo Este and Santiago.