Chilean Empanadas, Piño Empanadas, made with ground beef, onions and spices should be a staple in everyone’s home . It’s a savory treat in every bite of this delicious hand-held meat pie. It’s a great dish for any party, and perfect for a Chilean Independence Day party, if you are holding one tonight.
You know how a smell or a food can instantly take you back to a place and time in your memory? That’s what empanadas do for me. On a cool, dreary day in Minnesota baking these puts me back in Chile- to my ocean views up in the hills, the micro buses and the joyous way Chileans celebrate their country and themselves!
When I lived in Chile I couldn’t get enough of the empanadas, but couldn’t figure out how to make one, everyone had their own style and recipe, held close, and rarely shared. I lucked out though when a close “family” member made them for our 18 de septiembre (Chilean Independence Day) celebrations. After one bite I knew I had to learn how to make hers. So a few weekends later I, the gringa, and some other gracious ladies gathered in her tiny kitchen to make empanadas and drink pisco sours, like any good Chilean get-together demands.
It was an afternoon full of fun, laughter, messes and great food! And I learned how to make empanadas, which was the best part. Now every time I bite into empanadas it takes me back to that kitchen…
I am not going to lie, but this is a time consuming recipe. Lots of steps, but oh so worth it. You might want to double the recipe though, as one is never enough and if you’re going to do the work, you might as well have the empanadas to show for it!
Pino Empanada Recipe
I always cook the meat portion of the empanadas first. The meat mixture needs to cool before being placed in the dough, so I have found it’s a more efficient use of my time to cook it first. I tried to break the recipe up in sections so that you can move things around to how it works best for you.
The onions get cooked first, so that they’re soft and cooked down. Then pretty much everything else gets aded in: garlic, meat, spices, and pepper.
Mix everything up and around so that the meat can brown evenly.
Please note: I enjoy the extra flavor the pepper gives so I chop my pepper up small and include it in my pino meat. This is not typical, my recipe reads to leave the pepper in large pieces so you can pick it out once the meat mix is done cooking. This way the flavor of the pepper is in your meat, but the pepper itself is not. Completely up to you how you do it.
Once the meat is cooked put it off to the side to cool and move on to making the dough- my favorite part, as you get to use your hands!
Making the Dough:
The dough is pretty straight forward- add together your salt, flour and butter, then add in the water, slowly. Mix with your hands until you have a nice, smooth ball.
Cut the dough “log” into pieces, about one inch thick (give or take). You should be able to get about 15 slices out of your log.
Place about 4 serving spoonfuls of the pino meat mixture into the center of the dough. A quarter egg slice goes in one corner, and a black olive in the other. If you like raisins feel free to sprinkle them throughout as well. Then fold it up.
Coating the Empanada for Baking:
Combine two egg yolks with a little less than 1 tsp. of powdered milk so that the mix is still wet and sticky.
Place them in the preheated oven (at 375° F) and cook for about 20 minutes. Pull out and serve warm!