Empanadas Chilenas

Empanadas are the Chilean meal on the go. I eat at least one or two a week when I’m out all day teaching. My favorite kinds are the camaron y queso (shrimp and cheese), caprese (tomato, basil, cheese) and pino (ground beef with a hard-boiled egg, olives, and raisins). They are also popular in many other countries in South American and vary slightly from region to region.

I decided to make two types; empanadas de pino and a cheese, tomato and spinach filling.

Empanadas de Pino Filling

1/2-1lb ground beef

1 white onion, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

i cup of beef broth (optional)

1 tablespoon of cumin

1 teaspoon paprika/cayenne

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 tablespoon of butter

1 tablespoon of olive oil


black pepper

2-4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

pitted black olives

1/2 cup of raisins

To make the filling you have to first remember to hard boil the eggs and put them in cold water while you cook the beef.

To begin the filling, add the onions and garlic with the butter and olive oil and saute until translucent. Next, add the beef and spices and stir until browned. Finally, add the beef broth and raisins and sugar and let it simmer for about 20 minutes until fragrant and set aside. When you make the actual empanadas, you will put beef, a hard-boiled egg slice, and one olive in the center.

Now, the tricky part. The dough. I found this recipe on Laylita’s fabulous South American food blog and adapted it. The dough turned out great. Buttery, flaky, delicious.

Empanada Dough (For Baking)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon of salt

6 oz unsalted butter

1 egg

4-5 tablespoons of water


Mix the flour and salt together in a big mixing bowl  (or food processor) until blended. Next add the water, egg, and butter, a little at a time, and mix thoroughly until it starts to form clumps.

Form the dough into a ball and stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

When your ready to make the empanadas, roll the dough out onto a flat, hard surface sprinkled with flour. You can then decide whether you want to cut out big circles, little circles, whatever you like!

Now for the folding. You’ve got your fillings ready to go, and the dough is ready and in circles. At this point, it’s up to you to decide what type of fold you want to do. Traditionally, there are certain folds for certain types of empanadas. For example, empanadas de pino are typical in a square shape, empanadas de queso are in a rectangle type shape, and usually empanadas de camaron(shrimp) ate the typical half-moon, but it all depends on the restaurant. I did my best, but in all honesty, I could use some serious folding practice. Mine were not exactly gorgeous. But, there are lots of online resources for learning different folds, and even cool little gadgets that make it a breeze!

Oddly enough, one of my favorite empanada fold guides is from an empanada vendor in Seattle called Pampeana Empanadas. I actually did a story on this company around when they first opened last summer. The site has a great little empanada fold guide which I love.  Check it out!

After awkwardly trying to fold my empanadas (square for pino, half-moon for the cheese/tomato/spinach), I make sure to lightly brush the tops of the empanadas with an egg yolk mix (egg yolk, teaspoon of milk) so that they had that pretty golden brown color. I baked them for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.


Que rico! (despite the ugly folding)


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