My Uncle was born and raised in Argentina. When he was 20, he met and married the love of his life, Nina. Their love story was one of adventure and food - after all, they met in an open air market where Nina and her mom were selling Empanadas. He fell in love with her and her Empanadas. They married and he whisked her away to Chicago where he had family and they had a chance at a better future.
Nina grew up in Del Campillo in the Cordoba region of Argentina, the eldest of 5 children. She was raised by her mom, as her dad passed away when she was very young. Nina loved her mother fiercely and loved spending time with her. Nina’s mother loved being in the kitchen, so this is where they spent most of their time together. She spent years watching and helping her mother make empanadas to sell at the market to support their family. On Saturday mornings Nina would wake up extra early to make special empanadas for her brothers and sisters as a treat. She always used her mother’s favorite filling recipe for this batch. They were a perfect blend of ground beef, potatoes and red peppers rolled into a pocket of dough, cooked to the perfect golden crisp. Made with love, they were nourishing and delicious. Her siblings looked forward to these special Empanadas all week long.
When my Uncle & Nina moved to Chicago, she brought the recipe and her knowledge of making the perfect Empanada with her. One evening as they sat talking about their future, she mentioned that she missed her mother and cooking in the kitchen with her. My uncle suggested she start making the empanadas as a way to feel closer to home. She never sold them, but instead cooked them for every holiday and always made extras to give to friends and neighbors. I remember eating these at every holiday table growing up. It was always exciting to taste what flavor combinations she made that time. After I went to culinary school and started learning more about different cuisines, I of course asked her to teach me to make her mother’s famous Empanadas. She was overjoyed with showing me how her mother showed her all those years ago.
Our Empanadas are a compilation of Nina’s brilliance and the flavors of the world. We hope you enjoy them as much as Nina and I do!