Discover the surprising origins of empanadas in Asda’s Mexican Food Blog: Part II

Can you guess where they're from?

By Alexia Dellner, 31 August 2016
Discover the surprising origins of empanadas in Asda’s Mexican Food Blog: Part II

Last week we introduced you to our amazing food innovation team whose job it is to travel around the world, exploring new ingredients and flavours. Their latest culinary adventure took them to Mexico where they sampled some amazing dishes (like crispy, warm churros) and more than just a few unusual ones (ant larvae omelette, anyone?). 

While discovering a variety of Mexican culinary delights, the team also learned lots about the country's history and culture. Perhaps the most surprising thing that the group discovered was that empanadas have their origins in the humble Cornish pasty! 

The link dates back to the 19th century when Cornwall's tin mining industry fell into decline, forcing thousands of miners abroad to search for work. Hundreds of men travelled across the sea to Mexico in order to mine silver, bringing their pastry-making skills with them. Of course, the traditional Cornish pasty of beef, potatoes, onions and turnip received a suitably Latin American twist with local ingredients and a name change. Typically, Mexican empanadas are filled with peppers and lots of different types of chilli. But that isn't to say that you can't combine the two – try this beef Wellington empanadas recipe for the best of both worlds. 

Mexicans are immensely proud of their extraordinary links with Cornwall, as so many of the descendants of the original miners live in Mexico today. On the Asda food innovation team's trip through Mexico City, their guide Paco revealed that there is even a famous Cornish Cemetery in Real del Monte (a small mining town in central Mexico) where all the graves lie in one direction because the miners all asked to be buried pointing back to Cornwall!

Our fabulous foodies weren't the only ones impressed with the surprising link between Mexico and Cornwall. On a recent trip to Mexico, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visited Pachuca, nicknamed 'Mexico's Little Cornwall.' Here, the royal pair visited the world’s first Cornish pasty museum, also located in Real del Monte – which happens to be over 4500 miles away from Cornwall!

But there's no need to travel across the Atlantic (or even down to Cornwall) to sample this crescent-shaped pastry delight. Check out this quick and easy cheese empanada recipe below. 

Cheese empanadas 

First make dough with Asda Great To Bake White Bread Mix. Fry an onion in oil until soft. Add cubes of cooked sweet potato. Transfer to a bowl, add sliced jalapeños, drained, grated Cheddar and chopped coriander. Roll out the dough to the thickness of a 10p piece. Cut out circles and place a little filling on one half. Fold into half-moons, seal the edges with beaten egg and bake in a medium oven for about 12 mins. Serve with Hellmann’s Mayonnaise With Chilli.

Find out more about our food experts' incredible Mexican food adventure in next week's instalment where Asda's innovation team share some of the more weird but wonderful dishes they tried on their trip.