Historically Uruguay was discovered by the Portuguese but there have also been Spanish and Italian influences with the various streams of immigration over the years. This has influenced much of the food.
Influences from Spain…
Empanadas are a classic example. The Uruguayans have their own version which comes from the Galician immigrants - Empanadas Gallegas which is a pie filled with tuna, onions and bell peppers.
Chorizo is another Spanish speciality and in Uruguay you’ll find Choripan which is grilled chorizo in a baguette.
And from the Italian immigrants
After the Guerra Grande or the Civil War in the late 1800s Uruguay saw an increase in immigrants from Italy and so again a change in the food scene.
Milenesa is beef or chicken that is coated in breadcrumbs and fried and was named after the city of Milan. This has a variation filled with cheese and ham called Milanesa Rellena.
Pizza por metro is literally called ‘pizza by the metre’ and is square vs round and cooked in large clay ovens.
And finally ñoquis which is their name for gnocchi - pasta made with potatoes served with different sauces. In Uruguay they have a brilliant tradition with ñoquis. They eat this dish on the 29th of each month and leave some coins or notes under the plate to bring abundance and prosperity. I think that’s brilliant and I’m going to adopt this tradition because I can always do with a bit of abundance!
There was rather a lot of spinach at my local market this week so I decided I’d make a green version with it.