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Jun 17, 2008 01:21 PM

Chilean empanada filling (pino) -- need advice!

I'm trying to provide a reasonably authentic recipe for the travel company I work for, but I'm finding too many variations online! I have three main questions based on what I've read:

-- what type of black olives are recommended?
-- is allspice widely used?
-- how about green bell pepper?

I'm sure every family has their own variation, but I don't want to make any egregious errors. I will definitely be using beef, hard-boiled eggs, and raisins.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. For what it's worth, here is the standard Argentine filling---sounds similar---"empanadas estilo porteno" (sorry no enye in this font): Saute ground beef with chopped onions. Season with salt and comino (cumin). Add raisins and green olives. Add a little canned tomato sauce and cook for a minute. Remove from stove and add chopped hard-boiled eggs (or put some hard-boiled egg in each empanada). In answer to your question, I have never heard of allspice being used in Argentine meat cooking but can't speak for Chilean; comino is the sine qua non. BTW making and rolling the dough is an all-day killer---most folks nowadays use the frozen rolled-out rounds sold at Hispanic markets---GOYA has them in two sizes and in Chicago I can buy them imported frozen from Argentina.

    1. Any black olives; also never tasted allspice in an empanada; NO bell peppers!

      1. In the following link you may find a good recipe in English.

        Some important comments.

        1. Despite in that recipe is used "Pasta de Aji" which is spicy I never EVER ! seen or ate any Chilean empanada with that pasta. ( I was living in Chile for almost 30 years and we used to ate every sunday in different restaurants. Neither in any homemade one . If you want to achieve a real Chilean taste I suggest to forget about that component.

        2. Is very important the suggestion to prepare the filling the night before....that will let the filling to develop their characteristic flavour and consistency.

        3. Use simple pitted ripe Black olives. Check on the label it have only water and salt.
        Do not use Green olives.

        4. The Argentine filling is completely different. I was living for 5 years in Buenos Aires and never found any similar one.

        5. Despite the general assumption South American food with the only exception of some very specific Peruvian dishes is not spicy.
        In general the food is never cook with the spicy element ( any kind of hot pepper ) on it.
        The spicy is served on the side as an optional.

        4 Replies
        1. re: HumbertoS

          Humberto, this sounds like what my friend from Santiago makes. She also makes empanadas with a seafood filling, do you know what goes in that?

          1. re: coll

            The seafood filling does not have a "standard" recipe but will contain mostly,
            Clam, Razor clam, Whelk, Mussels. ( Oyster, Crab or Abalone eventually in a more fancy place )
            There are no pre-established proportions and usually are added in pairs for example:
            Razor Clam & Mussels or Whelk & Mussels...... ( The most common combination )
            The recipe is similar to the meat filling , just replace the meat by seafood ...however because of the nature of the food had to be prepared the same day not the night before....
            Most of the time the seafood ones are deep fried instead of oven baked but both options are OK.

            Just in case here is a good link to a recipe......before you read the recipe let me mention a couple of things....

            1. I was born in the Central zone and there octopus and squid are an oddity only consumed by people with direct Spaniard ancestry ... for the average Joe those two elements are not in the list....

            2. One more time this recipe contain some spicy element...I will insist that is not the standard, average, recipe..... I will not deny some people use spicy food and in some places they give you the option if you want the food spicy or not but in general our level or degree of spiciness will made anybody from Thailand, India or Mexico feel the food is not just a touch ( When used ).


            1. re: HumbertoS

              Thanks, that sounds right. Actually I'm meeting my friend for lunch soon so I'll get her recipe then and let you know any interesting deviations. I seem to remember shrimp in hers.

          2. re: HumbertoS

            The chilean food IS spicy - it just depends upon who is making it and who is eating it. Hot sauce/Aji IS a common ingredient/condiment.

            Most of the cuisines along the Andean corridor are spicy. Peru is famous for it's Aji Verde AND Aji Rojo.. if you go into the weekly markets in the mountains, you'll see MANY different types of hot peppers for sale -- all commonly used.

            The Argentine fillings differ by region -- for example, the empañadas of Tucuman differ from those of Buenos Aires.

            The empañada recipes will all have a twist or another -- the chilean ones with raisins, hard boiled egg, cloves, some with almonds, some with seafood or cheese or whatever -- some with it all! I've even seen some with rice.

            I have not seen any with bell pepper -- but, bell pepper isn't a big ingredient that I've seen in south america.

            p.s. take a look at these:



            (in the second one you can clearly hear them mention the Aji and the man asking for the empañadas to be "picante") :-)