Chilean Empanadas

Typical Chilean preparation.
Consumed in very large quantities on Independence Day in Chile (18th of September)
There are many varieties of ways that the empanadas can be prepared and stuffed, but some of the characteristics that they share, is that they consist of a filling wrapped in dough, a little spicy, and prepared in an oven, or mud oven if you have one but they can also be fried.

For 20 empanadas.


Pino (or filling)
800 grams (1.7 lbs approx) of ground beef
3 large onions
6 eggs
20 black olives
80 raisins
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of whole cumin
1/2 tsp of black pepper
1/2 tsp of paprika
1/2 tsp of ground chili or merquen
salt to taste

Masa (or dough)
1 kg of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
200 grams of pork lard
500 ml of hot water
1/2 tablespoon of salt

Preparation of the Pino (or filling)

Boil 5 eggs.
Cut each egg 4 pieces length-wise.
Soak the raisins in warm water.
Peel and cut the onions into little squares.
Heat a pan to medium heat, and add oil.
Fry the chopped onion until it is clear.
Add the ground beef, while still stirring.
Flavor with ground cumin, whole cumin, black pepper, paprika, chili powder or merquen, and salt. Keep stirring.
You can add more seasoning  if you like.
As soon as the meat is cooked, stop cooking.
Allow to cool, then prepare to put the empanadas together.

Preparation of the masa (dough)

Sift the flour and mix it with baking powder.
Create a hole in the middle of the sifted flour.
In the hole, add margarine, salt, white wine, hot water, and warm milk.
Use a spoon to mix the ingredients, don’t use your hands or you could get burned.
After mixing the ingredients, start kneading.
Use both hands, to make sure the dough is properly kneaded.
Create a ball with the dough, and cover with a cloth so it doesn’t get cold.
Take pieces of the dough, and create balls that are approx 4 cm.
Put then on a sheet that has flour on it.
Keep the balls covered with a cloth.
Then start stretching the balls of dough until it is thin.
Use something round, such as a plate to put the stretched dough. You want to have a circle.

Putting the empanadas together

Put some pino (filling) in the middle of the dough circle.
Then add a piece of egg, an olive and four raisins.
You don’t want too much filling, but you don’t want too little either.
Wet your fingers with warm water, and then rub them along the edge of the dough circle. This will help the empanada stay closed.
Close them however you want.
Press down hard on the edges, to make sure that the edge isn’t too thick.
Beat an egg a bit with a little milk, and use a brush to paint the tops of the empanadas.

Put the oven on 175 c (350 F approx)
Put the empanadas on a sheet with flour to bake them.
After about 20 minutes, check and see if they are golden on top. If they are looking a bit pale, put the temperature a bit higher.
The empanadas are ready when they are looking golden.
Remove them, and allow them to cool for a few minutes.
Serve hot!

With the dough, you can also stretch it all out, and cut out the circles, instead of making balls like we did.
You can also add chili pepper, or cayenne pepper to the pino.
The meat can be beef cut into little strips instead of ground.
It is a lot easier to work with the dough when it is warm.
You can add 1/2 cup of chopped parsley to the filling.

Chilean Shepherd’s Pie

In other countries they also prepare Shepherd’s Pie, such as Peru and Argentina, with only a slight variation in some ingredients.

For 4 portions.


4 potatoes
1/2 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of butter
1 pound (1/2 kg aprox.) of ground meat
1/2 red pepper
1 large onion
2 hardboiled eggs
15 large black olives
20 yellow raisins
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup of grated mozarella cheese
1/4 cup of Chilean red wine
Condiments: salt, pepper, ground cumin, oregano, chili pepper, and paprika.


Make the mashed potatoes.
Wash the potatoes and put them in a pot of cold water with a bit of salt, and let boil.
When they’re done, take them out and let them cool a bit.
Peel the potatoes, and mash them, adding milk, butter and salt. They should be thick.

Make the meat mixture.
Peel and chop up the onion into little squares.
Wash and cut the red pepper into small pieces.
Peel and chop up the garlic cloves.
Heat a pan, and add the olive oil.
Fry the onion with the red pepper.
After a bit, you add the garlic and ground meat.
Then you can add salt, pepper, ground cumins, oregano, chili pepper, paprika, depending on how much you want.
Mix it all well, so that meat is completely cooked.
After the meat is cooked, add red wine, mix it well and after one minute remove it from the stove.

Heat the oven to 400 F degrees.

Add a bit of butter to the bottom of the glass or ceramic container you are going to use to bake in.
In the bowl you use to cook the mixture, make sure you leave some space at the top.
Soak the raisins in warm water for 5 minutes.
Put a layer of mashed potatoes using about half of the potatoes you had prepared.
Add a layer of the prepared meat mixture.
Add black olives, the raisins, and the hardboiled eggs, cut into pieces.
Add a final layer of mashed potatoes.
Finally add the grated mozarella cheese over everything.

Bake approximately 30 minutes or until it looks golden on top.

In this preparation instead of grated cheese, you can do bread crumbs.
Instead of black olives, it is also tasty with green olives.
The secret is to add lots of ground cumin, it gives a good flavor to this and many other Chilean recipes.
You can prepare the mashed potatoes with the instant mix kind, but they will never be as good as your own homemade mashed potatoes.

Chacarero Sandwich

For 2 portions.


1 pound pork fillet
1/2 pound green beans
1 tomato
half of a green chili pepper
2 large rolls
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 liter of water
salt and pepper


Wash the green beans, cut off the points, and then cut them in half, cutting length-wise.
Boil the green beans with a little salt.
Wash and cut the tomatos into slices.
Cut the pepper into small pieces.
Dress the pork with salt, pepper, and chopped up garlic.
Heat a pan, then add the olive oil, and cook the pork.

Serve, putting the meat first on the roll, then add the green beans, the tomato and then the green chili pepper. On the top piece of the roll, you can put the mayonnaise.

You can also dress the meat with something spicy.

Click here for the Chacarero recipe in Spanish.

Chicken with Peas (Pollo Arvejado)

Typical Chilean dish.

For 4 portions.
Chicken with peas

4 pieces of chicken
2 carrots
2 cup of peas
1 large tomato
1/2 onion
1/2 red pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 chicken flavored bouillon cube
1/2 teaspoon of flour
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup of white wine, I use Chardonnay (Chilean wine is always nice)
1/2 cup of water or vegetable stock
Condiments: salt, black pepper, paprika, cumin powder, chili powder (I use about 1/2 teaspoon of each)

The chicken is accompanied with white rice, and fried potato cubes.


2 hours before the cooking, you have to dress the chicken with chopped garlic, salt, black pepper and leave it in the refrigerator.

Prepare the vegetables, cutting the onion into thin pieces, chopping up the carrots and red peppers, and cutting the red pepper into thin slices.

Heat a pot at medium heat, and add olive oil.

Place the chicken in the pot, and sautee it for 5 minutes, flipping occasionally.
Then add the onion, red pepper, carrots, bay leaf, bouillon cube, and the condiments.

After 10 minutes, add the white wine and stir around a little bit.
Add the water or vegetable stock, and the tomato and peas.

Lower the heat a bit, and cook for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.

At the end, add the flour, stir well and cook for 2 more minutes.

Preparation of white rice

For one cup of rice.
Boil water,
Sautee rice in olive oil for one minute in a pan, then add 1/2 cup of white wine, and 1 1/2 cups of hot water, salt.

Preparation of small potato cubes

Cut the potatos into small cubes,
Fry the potato in oil. You add throw in some cloves of garlic with the potato cubes, and they give it a nice taste.

Serve the chicken with the potato cubes on top, and next to the white rice.

Click here for the recipe in Spanish.