empanada a Spanish and Latin American savoury turnover. ‘Empanada’ means ‘covered with bread’; and bread dough may be used, but the usual covering is shortcrust pastry. Often the semicircular seam is decorated by twisting it at regular intervals. The pastry may be baked or deep fried.
Fillings vary from one country or region to another. In Spain a mixture of minced meats and sausage is common, but in writing about empanadas in Galicia Janet Mendel (1996) lists no fewer than 18 examples of fillings, ranging from clams to rabbit, sardines to pigeon, and octopus to ham. In S. and C. America and the south-west of the USA a similarly wide range of fillings are used. Mexican fillings are highly seasoned with chilli peppers.