Chile’s Independence Day is right around the corner and I’ve wanted to share this Chilean Empanadas recipe with you for a while now (Empanadas de Pino). These delicious traditional Chilean empanadas are the juicy type, with an easy-to-make dough. They are perfect with a lovely glass of red wine!
The perfect occasion to eat Chilean empanadas (Empanadas de Pino)
Chile is a country in the South of South America, a thin strip of a country with many different ecosystems along the way. Chile’s Independence Day is on the 18th of September and I cannot help but feel the excitement in the air all around living here. Also, Chile clearly has a piece of my heart since I’ve been living here for 10 years now, my dad is Chilean as well as my husband and many of my friends. They have always welcomed me with open arms so there’s nothing else left to do but celebrate their independence. And if there’s something that has to be in such a celebration it’s Chilean Empanadas with Beef (Empanadas de Pino). Other countries in Latin America also have their empanada recipes, but every country gives their own spin to it. The Chilean version is definitely one of my favourites! If you make these, please send the photos over via DM on Instagram!
My mom’s tip
My mom has been making Chilean Empanadas (Empanadas de Pino) since 2020 for my dad and she’s making some for the 18th for sure. She was using Alvaro Barrientos‘ recipe for a while and then made a few modifications to it. Then I went in with some modifications of my own, lol! There’s something not so traditional about my recipe and I have to warn you right now. My mom gave me the tip that she adds a bit of flour to the filling, not too much, though. This makes the filling thicken a bit when it’s cold, making it easier to fill the empanadas. However, when you bake them in the oven, the filling goes back to being lovely and juicy. This tip works really well and I recommend it very much.
The filling for Chilean Empanadas (Empanadas de Pino)
Chilean empanadas are filled with a meat mixture that consists of onion, chopped beef and a mix of spices. This meat filling is called “pino” and these in particular are very juicy, what’s known as “calduas”. When you assemble them you also add hard-boiled eggs, olives and raisins. Here are all the ingredients you will need for the filling:
- Oil: I love to use olive oil but vegetable oil works as well.
- Onion: Finely chopped onions are at the heart of this recipe and add a lovely and sweet flavour to the filling.
- Cumin: As always, cumin needs to be present in the right amount. Too much and it will be overpowering and if it’s too little you won’t taste it at all.
- Paprika: This adds colour, flavour and slight smokiness.
- Oregano: Dried oregano really brings the filling to life.
- Beef: For the filling for the empanada recipe I only used chopped beef. I chop it into small cubes. Other recipes use half chopped and half ground beef, others only ground beef. You can use tenderloin, rump or even pieces of steak.
- Flour: This is the tip my mom gave me to make them extra juicy. The flour thickens the filling and even more so as it cools down. That makes them easier to fill. Then, when you bake them, the sauce goes back to being more liquidy, making them really juicy or “calduas.”
- Beef stock or water: Use beef stock for a tastier result, but it’s still good with water.
- Hard-cooked eggs: For the perfect hard-boiled eggs I like to place them in a pan with room temperature water over high heat. Once it breaks into a boil I count 10 minutes. This makes for lovely yellow egg yolks.
- Olives: The ones we use in the Chilean Empanadas with Beef (Empanadas de Pino) are black pitted olives rather than green olives.
- Raisins: Raisins are usually added to the filling, but if you prefer, you can skip them.
The empanada dough
The dough for Chilean Empanadas (Empanadas de Pino) is really easy to make. In a large bowl, you will have all-purpose flour and salt. Mix them together and pour on top hot shortening and water as well as white wine. The white wine helps to make the dough bubble up slightly making it flakier. Since the mix is hot, you will mix first using a spatula and then finish incorporating with your hands until it’s homogeneous. Wrap in plastic wrap and let the dough rest refrigerated it for at least 2 hours or a maximum of 2 days. You can also freeze the dough and filling for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container.
How to assemble Chilean Empanadas (Empanadas de Pino)
Once the dough has rested in the fridge, you remove it and portion it in 6 equal parts. You will roll out each piece of dough using a rolling pin on a clean work surface until it’s 2-3mm thick. Then, you will use a 20cm/8in dish as a mould and use a knife to cut around it. You will fill these dough circles with about 4 tablespoons of pino, placing it at the centre of each circle. On top of the filling, you will place a piece of quartered egg and an olive. To close them, brush the edges with egg wash and fold them in half, making a half-moon shape. Stick the edges together, trying to remove as much air as possible.
To shape the, you will fold the sides inwards and the bottom flap upwards. This will leave you with a rectangular empanada. Use your fingers to press down on the corners of the empanadas, leaving a dent to stick together well. You will repeat this process with all your Chilean Empanadas (Empanadas de Pino). Place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, brush with egg wash and bake in a preheated oven at 200C/400F for 20-25min or until golden brown.
Tips for the best empanadas
Making homemade Chilean Empanadas (Empanadas de Pino) isn’t that complex. However, there are a few tips that I want to share with you so that you get a perfect result every time.
- It’s extremely important when making Chilean Beef Empanadas to cook the diced onion in the beef mixture for a long time over medium heat in a large saucepan. I can almost never eat store-bought empanadas because when the onion isn’t properly cooked, they will be strong and your gastritis will come say hello. Therefore, be patient, let the onion cook really well until it smells sweet and these delicious Empanadas de Pino will be a treat to eat and digest. Bear in mind that if you’re making more onions, they will take longer.
- Ideally, you want the beef filling for the empanadas to be cold. I also must say that it becomes even tastier if you make the filling the night before assembling and baking. Since the filling has that bit of flour, it thickens even more, making assembling them really easy.
- I like to distribute the workload over two days. The day before eating them I make the filling and dough, leaving everything in the fridge. On the next day, I roll out the dough, assemble the empanadas and bake them.
Chilean Empanadas with Beef (Empanadas de Pino)
For the dough
- 320 g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp white wine
- 120 ml water
- 50 g shortening
For the beef filling (pino)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 350 g finely chopped brown onion
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dry oregano
- 280 g tenderloin/filet, rump, or steak cut in 5mm / ⅕ inch cubes
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 200 ml beef stock or water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 hard-boiled eggs
- 6 black olives
- 50 g yellow raisins
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp water
For the dough
- In a bowl, mix the flour and salt.
- Place the shortening and water in a small pan over medium heat. Once it breaks into a boil, add it to the flour.
- Also, add the wine (cold or at room temperature).
- Mix everything with a spatula first to avoid burning your hands and then knead with your hands until you have a homogenous dough.
- Wrap the dough and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
For the filling
- Preheat a large pan over medium heat.
- Add the oil, onion, cumin, paprika and oregano.
- Stir every couple of minutes, you need to spend a good amount of time cooking the onion. It should take about 15 minutes and the end result needs to smell sweet.
- Add the beef and stir for a couple of minutes.
- Add the flour and mix. The flour is my mom's trick to make the empanadas juicier.
- Add the stock or water and let it come to a boil. From the moment it breaks into a boil, let it cook for a minute longer and remove the pan from the heat. Let the filling cool down completely. Ideally, refrigerate it overnight. The flour will make it thicken as it cools and make the empanadas easier to fill.
- For the hard-boiled eggs, place them in a saucepan with room-temperature water. Place the saucepan over high heat. When it comes to a rolling boil, start counting 8 minutes. Then transfer the eggs to a bowl with ice to stop the cooking process. Peel them and cut them in quarters.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll them out as round as you can until the dough is 2-3mm thick. Then cut it round by using a 20cm/8in diameter dish as a template, cutting around it with a knife.
- Place about 4-5 tablespoons of filling at the centre and slightly to one side of the empanada. Place an olive on top and ¼ of an egg.
- Beat the egg and water from the egg wash and use it to paint the edge of the empanada. Fold it in half. Stick it well and try to remove all the air. Then, fold the edges in and the front upwards. This will give you a rectangular empanada. Une your index finger and press on all corners of the empanada to seal them.
- Place the empanada on a baking tray lined with baking paper and paint with the egg wash. Repeat with all the empanadas.
- If you have leftover dough you can bring it together using wet hands and roll it out again.
- Bake the empanadas in a preheated oven at 200°C/400°F for 20-25 minutes or until they're golden on top and underneath.
- Serve them hot.