Dig In To Empanadas!

By Published On: January 26th, 2012Categories: Appetizers0 Comments on Dig In To Empanadas!

This food blog is all about having FUN with food. Even though I am starting with a fairly ambitious multi-course dinner, pick some or all of the recipes that sound appealing to you and leave the rest for another time. We started our South American fiesta with Pisco Sours; a beverage both Chile and Peru have claimed as their national drink. Pisco tastes a little like grappa so if you like that flavor, you will love Pisco Sours.

Pisco Sour
Preparation time: 15 minutes; makes 6 shots

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 glass of Pisco (Peruvian Brandy) My question when I first used this recipe…how BIG of a glass to use, so I chose a large one!
  • Juice of 6 limes
  • Chopped ice
  • Angostura bitters

1. Beat the egg white and sugar in a blender
2. Add pisco, lime juice, ice and angostura bitters
3. Mix well and pour into shot glasses


I served 4 additional Bocaditos (little bites) with the Empanadas, but first here are the Chilean Empanadas. This was my first time making Empanadas so it probably took longer than it should have, but they were fairly easy (and FUN!) to put together. You can prepare portions of the recipe in advance (dough, filling, Chimichurri sauce), and they were really delicious!

Empanado de Pino from Chile with Chimichurri Sauce

Also pictured is Manchego cheese with Quince paste on wheat crackers from Bolivia.

In Chile, the most traditional empanada filling is called “pino”. Pino is a seasoned mixture of ground beef, onions, raisins, black olives, and hard boiled eggs. The empanada dough is quick and easy to make, and can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. The pino tastes best if made the day before and allowed to rest overnight before filling the empanandas.


  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 beef bouillon cube, dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped black olives
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Prepare empanada dough (recipe follows) and chill.

Cook the onions and garlic in the vegetable oil and butter until softened. Add the ground beef, cumin, chile powder, paprika, beef bouillon, and salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the beef, stirring and crumbling the meat, until browned. Add the flour and continue to cook for 5 or 10 minutes more.

Remove the meat mixture and let cool. The beef mixture will keep up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

Shape the empanadas: Separate the dough into golf ball size pieces, and roll into smooth balls. Let rest for 5 minutes. On a floured surface, roll each ball of dough into a 6 inch diameter circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Add 1 tablespoon of the beef filling, a few raisins and some chopped olives, and a slice of hard boiled egg to the middle of the circle.

Brush the edges with water and fold the pastry in half over the filling, to make a semi-circle.

Seal the edges by pressing down with your fingers. Brush the sealed edge lightly with water, then turn the edge toward the middle and press with your fingers to seal.
Mix the egg yolk with 2 tablespoons milk, and brush the empanadas with the mixture.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Empanada Dough
This recipe produces a sweet dough that contrasts perfectly with savory fillings. Empanada dough is less flaky than pie crust (although you can substitute frozen pie crust dough in a pinch) – it has a tender texture that soaks up the filling.

This dough can be used for baked or fried empanadas. If you are going to fry the empanadas, omit the egg yolk and roll the dough out slightly thinner (less than 1/4″ thickness).

4 cups flour
1-2 teaspoons salt
2-3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, chilled
12 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening, chilled
3/4- 1 cup water
2 egg yolks

Sift the flour into a bowl. Stir in the salt and the sugar.
Blend the butter and shortening (or lard) into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or with two knives, until fairly well blended.
Whisk the egg yolks with 3/4 cups water. Stir in the 1/2 cup of water/egg mixture, a little at a time until the dough starts to come together smoothly. Keep kneading the dough, adding more water/egg a little bit at a time as necessary (you made need a few tablespoons extra of water), until the dough is smooth. The dough will seem a bit shaggy until it has thoroughly chilled.

Cover the dough with saran wrap and refrigerate for about an hour. (Dough can also be kept overnight (or a couple of days) in the refrigerator.) Dough should be soft and smooth, and not elastic – if you poke a hole in it with your finger, the indentation should remain.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and roll into desired thickness.
Makes enough dough for 10-12 large empanadas.

Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

To prepare:
Puree all ingredients in processor. Transfer to bowl. (Can be made 2 hours ahead.) Cover and let stand at room temperature. The beauty of this sauce is you can change the portions to your liking…for example if you LOVE garlic, add more. Or if you are particularly found of cilantro, mix that and the parsley 50/50…well, you get the idea(r)!

Stay tuned for more bocaditos…! And the entire South American menu with recipes!

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