When my mom and niece came to visit at the end of July, I wanted to make sure they would leave wanting to come back again and again. Since my niece, who’s 15 years old, mostly wanted to shop and hang out in cafes people watching, and my mom mostly wanted to check out the architecture, eat delicious food, and see some museums and churches, I had to find something to do that would be a hit with both of them. Hmmm… what do we all have in common? Ah, yes. We all love to cook.
I researched online and found the options for cooking classes in Buenos Aires to be pretty scarce. Many of the classes in the city were oriented towards professionals. I was looking for something more informal, more fun.
Cooking with Teresita seemed to be the right choice. Apart from having a variety of options, I loved that she was located outside of the city. Taking the train from the Constitución station to Adrogué was easy enough. Trains depart every 30 minutes or so and Adrogué is about 30 minutes away.
Adrogué is a colorful, elegant town. Its houses suggest it was inhabited by wealthy families who wanted to get away from the city.
We walked from the station to Teresa’s house where she teaches her classes. It’s clear Teresa was a school teacher for years before opening her B&B and offering cooking classes out of her home. Taught in English, the class was well organized and very hands-on and Teresa clearly loves sharing her knowledge of Argentinean cuisine.
We learned to make the filling for beef empanadas first. We sauteed the onions until translucent and then added the ground beef. Next came the spices. Here’s the full recipe.
Next we prepared the corn filling, which is called humita. It’s a combination of onions, bell peppers and corn off the cob.
While we let the fillings cool off in the freezer, my niece prepared the dough (while I talked, of course).
It took us a while to get our circles of dough as symmetrical as Teresa and her granddaughter’s were, but we watched and learned.
Next we stuffed the empanadas and closed them up. We used two types of closures: one for the beef empanadas and one for the humita.
Most places that serve empanadas will tell you which type of closure is used for each filling. In some places, they may have 12 different types of empanadas. Checking the way the dough is folded will allow you to pick the empanada you want.
Teresa explained that a lot of people prefer baking empanadas to frying them, but the fried ones are much tastier. She was right. Half of our stash were baked and the other half fried.
While both were delicious, the fried ones, sprinkled with a bit of sugar before being served, were amazing.
We sat out in Teresa’s back yard, where she has a cottage that serves as a B&B for those who want to get out of the city and take some of her more advanced classes.
A bottle of Trapiche Malbec, and a bottle of Trapiche Torrontés were served with our warm empanadas. The two women staying at the B&B joined us.
Our day in Adrogué cooking with Teresa was the perfect combination of learning about the food, the culture, and the wine while enjoying wonderful company and fantastic empanadas made by our hands.
Here’s a video that aired on German television Teresa teaching a group of Germans how to make empanadas.
Cooking with Teresita
1 Comment To This Article… add one
August 19, 2008, 3:54 pm
Ah…. Mataderos in the winter. It’s so very Argentine. Well, one side of Argentina at least. My niece is a big tamale fan, too. That’s got to be the next thing I learn to make.
Good luck with the humita empanadas. Oh, and just so you aren’t surprised, aji molido here is not very spicy. It’s not really red pepper or cayenne pepper. They think it’s spicy, but it isn’t. Chile peppers, ha… Argentines couldn’t handle that kind of fire.
You can sometimes find two types of aji molido: one that’s mild and one that’s “spicy.” If you go to a spice shop in say Chinatown, ask them for both. Teresa also used sweet paprika and spicy paprika. The humita empanadas we made were spicier than those I get here in town, but not spicy if you’re from Louisiana.