Empanadas de Pino (Beef Empanadas)

Empanadas de Pino (Beef Empanadas)

So quintessential is the empanada to Chileans that upon visiting Chile, you are likely to be asked, “te gusta la comida chilena, te gustan las empanadas?” (Do you like Chilean food, do you like empanadas?) They are a staple of the national holiday in September, but are eaten year-round, and for many families these are a traditional Sunday meal or a starter before a lunch.

Though many Latin American countries have empanadas, they each have different doughs and fillings. Chile’s empanada dough is wheat-based, and the traditional filling always contains pino (ground beef cooked with onions and cumin). Hard-boiled eggs, olives, and raisins are found throughout, though by request of picky eaters, some cooks will make a few without this or that, depending on taste.

Traditionally, empanadas were baked in a community oven, and people used distinctive patterns of fold¬ing and crimping so they could identify and take home their own. The proper way to eat an empanada is to hold it upright, break off the top cachito of dough and eat it first, using that time to let the empanada vent some of its steam. If it drips down your arm, well, that’s just part of the experience.


For the filling

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

For the dough

  • 1 cup whole milk, warm
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 4½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 6 tablespoons lard or butter, melted and warm

To assemble

  • 20 raisins
  • 10 black olives, pitted
  • 3 eggs, hard-boiled
  • 1 beaten egg to seal and brush



  1. Make the meat filling: In a large pot or skillet, warm 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the meat and cook 4 minutes, without breaking it apart. Flip it over, and cook 4 more minutes. Break it apart and add the broth, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Lower the heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes.
  3. Add the onions and cook 30 minutes.
  4. Add flour and mix well. Remove from the heat and let cool. Refrigerate overnight.
  5. Make the dough: Mix the milk with the salt until dissolved.
  6. Use a food processor, or a stand mixer, to blend the flour, egg, and lard until it resembles coarse crumbs. With the machine running on low speed, add the milk in a stream.
  7. The dough should be soft. If necessary, add warm water by the tablespoon until it softens.
  8. Knead for 5 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350ÂşF.
  10. Transfer the dough to a floured counter and split into 10 equal portions.
  11. For each empanada, flatten a ball of dough with your palm and roll it into an 8-inch circle.
  12. Place 3 tablespoons of meat filling, 2 raisins, 1 whole olive, and ÂĽ of a hard-boiled egg on the bottom half of the dough, avoiding the edge.
  13. Wet the edge of the dough with egg and seal it shut, pressing down all around the seam. Fold the seam 3 times, sealing the curved part first, and then forming what will be the cachitos (horns) of the empanada. Brush each empanada with egg, and using a toothpick make 3 holes in the top of each one to allow the steam to escape.
  14. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden.
  15. Serve hot.
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