Empanada Diaries: A Month of Lunch at Reckons Urgell

empanada /ˌɛmpəˈnɑːdə/ : a Spanish or Latin American pastry turnover filled with a variety of savoury ingredients and baked or fried.

Spanish, feminine past participle (used as a noun) of empanar ‘roll in pastry’, based on Latin panis ‘bread’.

There were chapters in my life during which I pretty much depended on them for sustenance. I first discovered empanadas in Buenos Aires when I was 22, after flying the proverbial nest to make a new life for myself in a foreign land. At a time when I was earning a tragically low English teacher’s salary along came a snack that was delightful in so many ways. It was cheap (around 4 or 5 pesos, or a little over $1). It was hot, fresh out of the oven (unlike packaged snacks that you could buy for the same price). It was interesting (with several fillings and flavors to choose from). It was substantial (one or two would last me through the day until dinnertime). It had a pleasing texture (crunchy pastry + gooey interior). And it was made wherever pizza was made so it would usually be available as a late-night option (the benefits of which are self-explanatory). For all these reasons I adopted the empanada as my go-to food choice, unable to make sense of why my fellow teachers (all equally broke) would bother preparing sandwiches and salads at home.

In Buenos Aires some of my favorite empanadas were the pollo (chicken) at Sanjuanino and the jamón y queso (ham and cheese) at El Cuartito. In Washington D.C. they were the Salteña (Bolivian version with chicken, potato, green peas, egg, onions) and the Jamaican Style (ground beef, potato and onions with a curry-based spice mix) at the iconic DuPont late-night spot Julia’s Empanadas. In Hong Kong there were no empanadas, but there were cha siu bao (barbecue pork buns) with many of the same characteristics, so I got those instead. I´m in Spain now, where empanadas originated centuries before crossing the ocean and then developing and diversifying in countries like Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Uruguay (as well as pretty much every other Latin American country). Ironically, many of the best empanada spots in Barcelona are thus actually Argentine in ownership and the recipes are also more in the style of the New World than that of the Mother Country. Just as I have in each of the other cities I´ve inhabited, I´ve chosen favorites. I like the pollo con curry (curry chicken) at La Empanadería de Gràcia on Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia and the La Negrita (a little black empanada with cuttlefish ink in its dough and a filling of gooey moz, tender bits of cuttlefish and tomato) at El Laurel.

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A few weeks ago I discovered a place near my office called Rekons with more empanadas on display than I’ve seen anywhere else in the city. The restaurant is rather large with an urban, restored feel inside. It might have once been one of those old-school colmado corner stores with tall shelves lined in cans and jars and a counter with cheeses and meats in the middle. There are several tables inside and a sidewalk terrace near the Sant Antoni market, which is an okay view despite the construction. The menu features a long and varied list of hot and cold sandwiches, some must-have Catalan tapas faves, a sampling of stews. Cakes and Argentine alfajor cookies for dessert. Wine and beer, including Argentine´s very own locally cherished whatever-brew, Quilmes.

12219341_960454154012653_3683488050147687356_nAt Rekons the empanadas are baked fresh daily. They come in 25 flavors and are available either on their own for €2 each or in combination with one of their ridiculous salads (€11,90 “kilombo” with 3 empanadas, €10.30 “minikilombo” with 2 empanadas). Honestly, the salads would be worth the price-tag on their own. They´re massive, prepared one at a time with plenty of care, and contain an exciting patchwork of ingredients: white asparagus, zucchini, eggplant, carrots, sweet cheese, salty cheese, apples and oranges on a bed of mixed greens. One of the best lunch combo values around.

At Rekons I became a regular after my very first visit. I would get used to seeing one of the same four faces behind the counter each day and would quickly come to learn which seller took the most care in choosing the most attractive empanada from the bunch and making sure it was heated through just right before handing it to me. Moments of monotony and stress at work were alleviated by the thought of steamy hot pockets of flaky dough for lunch. I started thinking about what fillings I would choose hours before my break. On those long, lagging Friday afternoons before the weekend I´d get something spicy to perk me up and keep me motivated through the day. On Mondays I´d take an early lunch and choose something cheesy and comforting to heal the start-of-the-week blues. And as I started frequenting Rekons daily I decided to document my journey through their empanada selection. I would try one per day, snap a photo and write a short review of each, taking note of my preferences in flavor and texture, creativity of the filling and pastry quality.

And I did it. And I´m naming it #empanadadiaries. And after 25 empanadas in just over a month, I´m probably taking a break from them for a while…

12081357_3151284941057_1732653622_n copy12087404_3151284861055_1941731835_n copyLacón con Queso
The Galician Stud

A half-moon shaped pocket of flaky, buttery dough that separates into sandy layers against the heat of the palette. The two tapered edges are folded down under the overhanging belly of filling. This one comes stuffed with perfectly melted, gooey cheese and finely diced lacón, which is a type of dry-cured pork shoulder from the Galician region of Spain. The meat has a wonderful smoky flavor and is much more complex than the sweet and salty cubes of jamón cocido that you’ll come across in traditional jamón y queso empanadas. The texture is also more meaty and firm than that of the rubbery, awkwardly moist cooked ham. The surface of the empanada is sprinkled with hot paprika, which echoes the heat of the lacón inside and adds a great splash of color to the golden brown pastry shell.

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Trigueros con Queso de Oveja (V)
Savage Stalks

This folded half-moon empanada comes with a slightly crunchier but less flaky pastry crust (almost like the straight edge of a fried wonton), sprinkled with poppy seeds that add a decorative splash to the surface but also carry the risk of getting awkwardly stuck in your teeth for the rest of the afternoon or until one of your colleagues informs you about it. The filling is very mild sheep´s milk cheese and trigueros, which are a type of wild asparagus grown only in Spain, particularly in the northern Extremadura region. They have skinny stalks that remain slightly fibrous even after cooked. But they´re tender and juicy enough for these fibers not to bother. That green flavor so specific to asparagus does not get lost in either the cooking of the stalks or the baking inside the pastry shell, but remains there, giving a powerful zing to each bite. The cheese doesn´t have too much character but binds the green together nicely and adds a hint of salty, nutty flavor. Good on a regular old Wednesday, when you just want something hot, but light.

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Chorizo Picante de León
Señor Spicy

This empanada has been one of my favorites at times where I crave tons of flavor locked into a few small bites. The dough is impossibly flaky and sandy-smooth; it is also seasoned with smoky paprika which gives it a feint red hue and echoes the star ingredient in the filling. A smooth, bubbly glob of melted mozzarella serves as the perfect base for the spicy slivers of chorizo, a Spanish sausage seasoned with smoked paprika (pimentón) which makes me terribly nostalgic for Hungarian Csabai and Gyulai variants. Although there isn´t too much meat inside the flavor of those few chewy pieces impart enough heat and spice to carry every bite of the pastry.

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Carne
The Old-Fashioned Gaucho

The traditional meat empanada, made with minced beef, hard-boiled egg and one green olive, which is perhaps the single most popular empa variety in many South American countries. I must have eaten hundreds of these during the time I spent living in Buenos Aires and in Santiago de Chile, and since then I´ve grown quite weary of them. Rekon´s version is a perfectly correct recreation of the classic, with the meat tender and juicy, though under-seasoned and kind of boring in flavor. The egg adds a firm, bouncy texture to complement the crumbly bits of beef, while the olive adds a single burst of moisture but not much else. It´s the type of empanada you get when you want something hot and substantial but not particularly riveting in its flavor profile. It´s also the type meant to be an appetizer to a multi-course asado, a meal which is otherwise full of more interesting flavors and textures. For me, it has always needed a tablespoon of chimichurri (or pebre) and a nice glass of uber-tannic Malbec (or Carménère). I guess without these accoutrements it´s an old standby, dull but filling on a cold autumn day.

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Bacon con Queso de Cabra
The Sinful Pig

This empanada caught me off guard in a good way. I was expecting a gooey and oozing blank canvas of mozzarella projecting the smoky favors of fine bits of pork, the same dynamic I encountered in the Lacón con Queso. But when I bit into the thing I was overjoyed to find it loaded with hearty strips of salty, smoky, shamelessly greasy and delicious bacon. Goat cheese sliced directly from the log with the bright white rind left on balanced the porcine flavors with its own clean, cool acidity and coated my tongue and palate with its creamy, viscous consistency. It was melted just enough to be soft but didn’t lose its form, which added extra texture to the thing. The dough was baked to a gorgeous golden brown and had a crunch reminiscent of puff pastry.

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Hamburguesa de Soja con Tomato y Queso (V)
….What?

I was not just a little bit taken aback by this thing, and not in a good way. It was a Monday morning at the office and I had had a few too many glasses of wine the night before so I was groggy and looking forward to 15.00 hrs, specifically because I knew that this time I´d be indulging in one of the big boys: Rekon´s “especiales,” twice as large as their normal empas and costing a tad more too. I wasn´t looking for anything delicate or balanced. I was looking for a juicy, meat-filled sack of puff pastry that I could bury my aching face into. And I guess that´s why I should´ve chosen one of the other two especialidades, instead of overlooking the words “soja” and “vegetariana” as I stood tapping desperately at the tray across the glass case. I was expecting actual hamburger meat instead of textured vegetable protein (i.e.: cardboard), and I was expecting it in loose, ground, non-patty form. I feel I must emphasize that this is not in any way their fault. I was just too careless and distracted. I brought this upon myself. I began to suspect that the empanada was not what I wanted when I lifted the thing from the plate. It was dense, heavy and thick. And as I bit into it I realized what I had on my plate in front of me, a travesty. A stiff, very boring soy patty topped with a few very thin, dry bits of tomato and some equally flavorless cheese, then coated in empanada dough and baked. It makes no sense. It´s stupid, it´s not an empanada and it´s just not good. What kind of person actually orders this one? Who says “Oh my 11 o´clock meeting stretched till 14.30 hrs and I´m dead, but in just a half hour I´ll have one of these! A pastry coated soy patty!” I don´t know. But it´s definitely not my favorite. I guess that´s what I get for ordering something vegetarian. I guess at some point in this challenge I would have had to eat one of these anyway. I just wish I had been better prepared and less sensitive of stomach when that day came.

axBerenjena con Queso (V)
That One Friend Who Always Has Interesting Weekend Plans and Something Cool to Say

After a deeply unsatisfying experience with a soy hamburger/empanada mutant on Monday and then finding, to my shock and utter sadness, the place closed on Tuesday, I decided on Wednesday to order something sure to please. It was not the day to screw around and experiment with the Rollito Butifarra, for example. I walked up to the counter and without even reviewing my options I said “Una de Berenjena con Queso, porfa.” I love eggplant, I have always loved eggplant and I was sure this time would be no different. Sure, it´s another vegetarian option, but in this case “vegetarian” does not translate to a lack of flavor, not at all. Cubed bits of eggplant are baked (or roasted?) to that perfect consistency, where they are tender and caramelized yet still quite firm in body. The veg was combined with gooey mozzarella, which carried with it the salty, slightly smoky and even more slightly bitter (but in a good way) flavors so unique to aubergine. The simple pinched repulgue (seal) of this empanada is on the top, like a golden brown and flaky mohawk topping a fat little bundle of steamy filling. It´s decorated with pretty black poppy seeds, no doubt to set it apart from the similar looking Calabacín con Almendras. No seeds between the teeth this time, though. I´m becoming an expert at this.

zzzPisto (VG)
Spanish Ratatouille

Today was all about Pisto, which, as I later learned, is a dish typical of the Murcia and La Mancha regions of Spain. Its formal name is “Pisto manchego,” to reflect its origin. It´s a ratatouille (or samfaina, in Catalunya) type thing made with tomatoes, onions, eggplants, green and red peppers, zucchini and olive oil. The veggies are finely chopped and stewed until tender but still firm, and until the flavors meet. They´re lain in a thin layer inside the empanada, which is sealed across the top. (Another pastry mohawk). I do feel I should point out that on Rekons´s flyer the sealing of this empanada is inconsistent with how it´s actually sealed. The flyer shows sealing on one side, while it is actually across the top. The Pisto is a wonderful empanada to get on a cool autumn day when you´re craving something hot and steamy, yet nutritious and (relatively) healthy. My only issue was that the filling might have been just a tiny tiny bit oversalted for my taste, but I will assume in this case that it was a one-time slip up. The pastry itself was quite delicious, a beautiful golden brown with a space between the filling and the top where the steam escaped. The roof of the empanada is decorated with a dusting of fried herbs, likely to set it apart from the Calabacín con Almendras.

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Puerro con Queso de Cabra (V)
Slippery Smooth Greens

One of the most comforting empanadas I´ve come across at Rekons is one filled with a creamy bundle of leeks and goat cheese. The pastry is also one of my favorites (or maybe I just got lucky today), as it´s super crunchy and satisfying, like puff pastry reheated to its original out-of-the-oven texture. The filling is moist, delicate and steaming hot, coating the tongue with its slightly slimy, glossy texture. The flavors are great too. The very subtle caramelized veggie sweetness of the leek is offset by the pungent funk of the goat cheese, which collects in little bundles throughout the filling. They don´t skimp on the leeks and cheese either, the little belly of dough bursts forth with filling when bitten into. It´s an empanada that proves difficult to order just one of and if it came in an “Especiales” size I wouldn´t hesitate to order it daily.

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Atún
Pollo of the Sea

There´s something a little bit weird, for me, about stuffing fish into a hot pastry. Even when it´s tuna. I had been avoiding this empanada for a while but was feeling adventurous on the Monday following a great weekend. I was confident that nothing could ruin my mood, not even fishy baked goods. As it turns out I had no reason to worry about this little guy. Yes, it is tuna, flaky from the can, but it´s dry enough to resemble chicken breast in texture. This is an important fact. The fish is well drained with no excess moisture left to carry marine funk into the flavor of the pastry. This results in a very feint fishy taste that is balanced with a briny green olive and the sesame seeds scattered over the top, which toast up and become nutty. So it´s still fish but the characteristics, which would otherwise not go with the flaky, buttery dough are curbed until it becomes a nice, meaty filling with an interesting texture. The pastry itself is a very neatly shaped pocket, not too full but not skimping on the filling either. I was pleasantly surprised by this little guy and would probably order it again, perhaps with one of Rekons´s fabulous salads on the side.

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Humita (V)
The Creamy Surprise

When I asked Nahuel “What´s best today?” he responded without hesitation. The Humita, a traditional Argentine empanada. It was one from which I had been keeping my distance, as I assumed that it would be filled with a dry and grainy cornmeal with not much flavor and no spicy sauce to squirt on to a) hydrate it, b) give it character. So imagine my surprise when I tore off the corner cap and encountered runny, smooth béchamel and juicy corn kernels running through. The creamy filling “blubbed” forth as I squeezed the thing, coating my mouth with a viscous, slightly sweet pudding of corn. As the filling carried lots of moisture and moisture conducts heat, the empanada was piping hot after just a few minutes in the oven, making it a fantastic choice for the cold winter days ahead. The pastry was also great, flaky, a bit thinner than usual, with five little spikes in its side fold. These spikes are great little handles to pull the empanada apart by. I absolutely loved this empanada and was very happy to discover something new, something that I will no doubt order again.

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Carne Picante
The Greasy Gaucho

Sometimes I want a steamy, wet pouch of seasoned meat and in those times the Carne Picante is the one I go for. I prefer this paprika-dusted guy a million times over to the dull, eggy, green olive studded, regular Carne. The meat is flavored with bits of onion and small red chiles running through the beef. It´s a tad greasy and the pastry soaks it all up, meaning a slightly chewier texture replacing the normal flaky crunch. Or maybe it´s all condensed steam, who knows and who cares, really. It´s dense, moist, hot and substantial and the flavors are interesting enough to leave you wanting another.

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Carne y Berenjena Picante
The Fork and Knife

On a rainy, cold Monday I pushed my lunch break as late as I could before the rumbling of my stomach started distracting my coworkers. At that point I headed over to Rekons with the Especialidades on my mind. I needed something big, hot and juicy to give me motivation for the day. Calorie-counting could wait until tomorrow, when the place would be closed anyway… So I got the massive Carne y Berenjena empanada, loaded with crumbly ground beef and cubed chunks of tender eggplant. As it arrived in front of me I actually considered using my fork and knife to eat it, and I even started to do so. But inevitably I took the thing into my palms, as everyone should, and tore into the delicious pocket of meat. What I loved about this empanada, besides the size, was the intensity of its flavors. It actually is quite spicy, and each bite left an exciting sizzle on either side of my tongue. The heat is balanced perfectly by the subtle sweetness of the pastry dough, which is relatively thin on both sides, and braided thick to seal in the moist, juicy meat. A delicious, steamy package of hearty beef and aubergine, definitely worth the price-tag.

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Pollo con Ciruelas
Tiny Dancer in My Hand

In the category of flavor, the empanada of chicken with plums clearly takes the gold. I expected it to be dry and boring with untraceable, raisin-sized bits of plum that contributed nothing but a good dish title. It´s not what I got… The white meat is pulled into tender shreds, combined with soft onion and peppers, and flavored with curry bright yellow from turmeric. Two or three juicy chunks of caramelized plum are thrown in, creating a dramatic taste-twist. The salty, herbaceous chicken is offset beautifully by the sticky, caramelized sweetness and mild acidity of the fruit. The consistency of each bite is great too: the pastry is bursting with steamy, moist chicken and moist, chewy plums. The pastry itself is okay. I think I caught it on an off-day, as the dough was a bit stiff, crunchy and hard, rather than sandy and flaky, as I expected. It´s sprinkled with black sesame seeds to set it apart from the regular Pollo, which – I can guarantee – is not as exciting in flavor.

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Champiñones con Emmental (V)
Fungal Funk

A plump, round ball of crunchy pastry tumbling forth with juicy slices of mushroom that are just barely held together by sticky Emmental cheese. Texturally this one isn´t too interesting: crunchy crust all around, gummy shrooms, oozing cheese. It has an awesome funky flavor, though, that makes it unique. The characteristic woodsy taste is perfectly complemented with the nutty, Swiss-cheese-like “foot stink” flavor of the Emmental. Add to that the toasted, roasty flavor of the sesame seeds sprinkled over the top and this one is truly a sensory roller-coaster. I like that the mushroom slices are kept so large, and that the Emmental is applied so modestly, so that the fungus doesn´t get lost in cheese as in some of the meat and cheese empanadas. Great on a Monday afternoon when I wasn´t too hungry or craving anything specifically.

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Pollo
Lean Cuisine

Something told me that the regular chicken empanada would not be too exciting when compared to the Pollo con Ciruelas (curried with sweet plums). And it was, in fact, not. If you´re looking for a (relatively) lean and healthy protein boost, this is the choice for you. The pastry, though flaky and buttery as always, is thin all around and seems close to ripping apart from the filling inside. It´s even pretty difficult to pick up, as it does not stand straight up on its own. The top is not garnished with anything, and in this regard also it is one of the “plainest” of the empanadas. The shredded chick breast inside is tender and steamy, mixed up with pep´s and O´s and seasoned not too heavily. Call it boring, or call it modest, or call it a classic. I didn´t mind it, but perhaps would order something more interesting instead.

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Caprese (V)
The Mozz Ball

A fantastic three-bite empanada with a crunchy pastry crust whose tapered edges are folded inwards to form a dense little pocket of dough. As I tore off one edge I sensed the strong aroma of dried basil and felt a dense blanket of mozzarella, soft and malleable, yet not really oozing anywhere due to its viscous nature. This one is very basic. If crispy pastry with a fat wad of hot cheese is what you crave then it´s the right one for you. I looked to find tomato but there wasn´t too much of it. Maybe the slightly reddish crust implies that its somehow baked into the dough? Maybe that color is there to set this one apart from the Puerro con Queso de Cabra or Espinacas empanadas that feature the same shape and are also unadorned on top?

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Cebolla y Queso 
Musky Mozz

Similar to the Caprese, but this dense glob of mozzarella is flavored with bits of onion instead of basil. The gooey cheese greeted my tongue full on when I bit into the pastry, refusing to break no matter how much I tugged at it. At one point I almost choked on the thing, because the flow of mozz just kept going and going with no respect for how much I could actually fit in my mouth. It´s like the cheese is angry and telling you “Yeah, you want cheese, fatty? Then take it…take allllllll of it.” And I must admit that I felt a tad intimidated. I love onions but the funky veg is only there is flavor, really, as the tender pieces are completely dominated in texture by the gloopy cheese. So for my cebolla craving, I´m going for the delightfully creamy and not so intimidating Puerro con Queso de Cabra instead.

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Jamon y Queso
Boyish Good Looks

This one is perhaps the most satisfying empanada in the cheese department. The smooth white stuff comes oozing forth, perfectly warmed through and liquid in texture. And as it comes flooding out, it brings with it pink strips of ham, very slightly smoky and meatier than I expected. The empanada is not loaded with meat as the Bacon con Queso de Cabra; the piggy meat is used more sparingly in this case. The pastry shell is also perfectly crunchy, flaky, golden brown -all of that- and not a single corner gets soggy from the deliciously moist filling. Decorated with dried oregano to set it apart from the Caprese, this is great for a guy just looking for something hot, simple, satisfying on a cool autumn day.

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Apio, Roquefort y Nuez
Feelin’ Blue

As is usually the case, the weirdest choice turned out to be my favorite. This empanada blends the pungent funk of roquefort with firm bits of celery and crunchy pieces of walnut into a single sensuous filling that left me wanting three or four more. The blue cheese is wonderfully silky and its funk runs deep, making this perhaps the most exciting empanada in terms of flavor. The fermented brine of the cheese is balanced beautifully by the nutty, toasted flavors of the nuez and the celery adds a still crisp, fresh twist. The empanada is a joy texturally as well. Gooey cheese is offset by the vegetal, cell-wall snap of apio and the oily, hard crunch of the nuts scattered throughout. The pastry shell is buttery, crispy, flaky and decorated with a single morsel of walnut to let folks know what´s inside.

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Calabacin con Almendras (VG)
Ratatt-…eh maybe some other time…

I wasn´t a huge fan of the zucchini and almonds empanada that I tried today at Rekons. The pastry dough was very thin (though it had a nice crunchy ridge on the top) and the filling kind of sagged, separating from the dough completely. The veggies (zucchini, onion, red pepper) were finely diced into small cubes, which are probably my least favorite veggie shape. They were seasoned quite minimally, no doubt to allow the natural flavors to come through, but this resulted in a watery and very slightly vegetal flavor that I was not too fond of. The almonds didn´t do much at all either. They were untoasted (and thus also pretty flavorless) and sliced very thin, as if their only intention was to get stuck in your teeth or slice your gums painfully. Maybe it´s healthy… You can take have this one, vegans…

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Espinacas (VG)
The Leafy Green Dream

Not what I expected with this one, in a very good way. In many, if not most, empanada shops I´ve been to there´s usually one veggie option to round out the ham and cheese, meat, chicken and sausage options, and it´s usually something called “vegetal” or “espinacas.” In either case the empanada is usually filled with a creamy glob of cheese or béchamel, which dominates in both flavor and texture and overshadows the subtle characteristics of the greens. Not with this one. I bit into a heavy little puck of thick, dark, forest green leaves, mashed into a very dense ball and coated with a thin layer of pastry crust. I´m pretty sure that this one empanada contained a who head of spinach, cooked and wilted down and dehydrated (though still very moist) to form this filling. The flavors were BOOM SNAP, deep, earthy, bitter from iron, the stuff dreams (and green juice) is made of. Here, as with the weirdo hamburguesa empanada, the pastry served only to coat the surface, not as a container or as an ingredient, at all. If I were a vegan I´d go with this one and forget the others. But then again, I would also never be a vegan.

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Carne con Calabaza
The Land Mine

The most intimidating of all the empanadas is perhaps the crystal sugar encrusted meat with pumpkin “Especial”, which looks more like a land mine poised to explode than an empanada. The top puffs up from steam from the filling and the sugar lattice on the top forms a beautiful caramelized, crunchy coat to contrast the flaky, buttery seal and bottom side. It´s filled with delicious seasoned beef (more similar to the meat in the filling of the Carne Picante than the classic Carne) and a layer or tender, orange pumpkin lain down over it. The two were´t mixed up as I expected. Instead, it was basically a ground beef empanada with patches of smooth, creamy, caramelized sweet pumpkin here and there. The natural, mellow and autumnal dulzor of the vegetable was beautifully supported by the sugar lattice on the crust, making for a fantastically crunchy, creamy, sweet and salty combination between filling and pastry. This one is good, really good. I just wish it came in a smaller size. As it is, it´s very heavy and left me with a guilty conscience, especially since I ate the thing in less than 10 seconds, licking crumbs off each finger afterwards.

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Rollito de Butifarra
The Weirdo

I guess if you´re craving a sausage wiener wrapped in crunchy pastry shell this is the snack for you. I´m almost never craving a sausage wiener wrapped in crunchy pastry shell, so I wasn´t too great a fan of this so-called empanada. The sausage inside was, indeed, pork butifarra and not the cheaper frankfurt, which I appreciated. It was also cooked to a nice, tender texture and had a salty, porcine zest to it that went nicely with the nutty flavors of the golden brown pastry. The combination, however, is entirely too heavy to handle and it sat like a stone in my stomach for the rest of the afternoon. Maybe if I had some ketchup or mustard with which to hydrate or add a bit of bright flavor or freshness to the thing, it would´ve gotten better results from me. But as it was, it´s not my favorite.

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Apple Pie Empanada
Apple Pie

This dessert empanada does not appear on the menu at Rekons. It´s tucked away from the savory guys and surrounded by other Argentine and international desserts, including alfajores, cakes, brownies, etc. The flaky pastry is sprinkled with cinnamon and stuffed with tender pieces of baked apple, which are also seasoned heavily with cinnamon. The stuffing is not too sticky or dense and I enjoyed that the apples were free of the globby binder sauce, thick with cornstarch, that typically ruins apple pie fillings. I wasn´t sure what to expect with this one but it ended up being a comforting autumnal treat. It was a tad heavy to have every day but once in a while….

cBeFunky Collage

My results are as follows…

  • Top 5 Favorite
    Puerro con Queso de Cabra
    Humita
    Pollo con Ciruelas
    Jamón y Queso
    Apio, Roquefort y Nuez
  • Top 5 Least Favorite
    Carne
    Haburguesa de Soja con Tomate y Queso
    Caprese
    Calabacín con Almendras
    Cebolla y Queso
  • Top Healthy: Espinacas; Champiñones; Pollo
  • Top Heavy Hitter: Carne con Berenjenas; Carne con Calabaza
  • Top Cheese: Jamón y Queso; Trigueros con Queso de Oveja
  • Top Meat: Bacon con Queso de Cabra; Chorizo Picante de León
  • Top Pastry: Carne con Calabaza
  • Top Vegetarian: Puerro con Queso de Cabra; Apio, Roquefort y Nuez
  • Top Vegan: Espinacas
  • Top Creative: Apio, Roquefort y Nuez; Pollo con Ciruelas
  • Top Comfort: Puerro con Queso de Cabra; Humita
  • Most Similar (Don’t Combine): Caprese and Cebolla con Queso; Pollo and Atún
  • Best Combo (Do Combine): Apio, Roquefort y Nuez and Jamón y Queso; Pollo con Ciruelas and Puerro con Queso de Cabra
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