Foolproof Chilean Beef Empanada de Horno

Sonia Rodríguez de Hofstadt of El Toque Gourmet

Caterer and cooking teacher Sonia Rodríguez de Hofstadt, of El Toque Gourmet

Two recent posts about empanadas, here and on Cachando Chile, have produced a flurry of requests for a recipe for those who cannot just pop over to the neighborhood empanada shop. Chilean caterer and cooking teacher extraordinaire, Sonia Rodríguez de Hoftstadt kindly offered to share her foolproof, no-fail recipe for Empanadas de Horno–de pino (beef)–of course!

Sonia is truly a woman of the world, the daughter and wife of diplomats, she has spent much of her life abroad, lived in 9 different countries, and speaks 5 languages. She was trained as a simultaneous interpreter and finally turned to her true passion: food from around the world. She teaches and caters through her company “El Toque Gourmet,” and is currently working on a book of the same title. Her specialties include (but certainly not limited to!) Asian Cooking, Mediterranean and European Food, American Desserts, and Chilean Asados.

You can contact Sonia at: hofstadt (a)
See more of what she’s up to here: El Toque Gourmet and Classes for Children

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for….The Recipe!

Empanadas de Pino de Horno / Chilean Beef Empanadas

(makes 12)
Recipe by Sonia Rodríguez de Hofstadt

Empanadas de Pino de Horno (foto concurso cronistas gastronomicos 2010)

Tried and tested over and over, these are the very best and easiest—if not the healthiest—empanadas. There is no need to chill the dough, but if you are not in a hurry, make the filling the night before to let the flavors mellow. They freeze well. These empanadas are a bit smaller and plumper than the ones sold commercially and remember—traditionally empanadas in the shape of a triangle are spicy with ‘ají’ (chili pepper).

Pino (Beef filling):
500 g (½ kg) lean beef (posta negra) connective tissue removed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoon cumin seed
5–6 tablespoons oil
4 medium onions, finely chopped
2 teaspoons paprika dissolved in
¼ cup beef broth (60 cc)
3 tablespoons seedless white raisins soaked in
¼ cup beef broth (60 cc)
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground fresh pepper to taste
1 tablespoon flour
3 green or red chili peppers (optional)

Process meat into small cubes the size of peas. Add ground cumin and let stand half an hour. In a non-stick pan heat cumin seeds until they pop. Add oil and sauté the onions. Do not brown, but cook thoroughly (25 min). Add the meat to onion mixture. Add paprika mixture to meat, add salt and pepper and cook at low heat until meat loses its color.  Add soaked raisins with the broth. Add flour. Consistency should be saucy, but not soupy. Cool.
If using chilies: divide filling in two and add chopped chilies to one of the halves.

12 black olives
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced in quarters

Pastry Dough:
(This flaky, crisp dough is also excellent for double crust pies)

1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
½ cup butter (115 gr)
½ cup shortening (115 gr)
5 ½ cups flour (370 gr)

In a small pan heat salt and milk to lukewarm. Remove from heat. Add egg, butter and shortening and stir till dissolved with a hand-held electric blender.

Mix into flour using your hands and work the dough until it is soft and easy to handle (not more than two or three minutes are necessary).  Make a long roll and divide into 12 egg-size pastry balls. (The last ball is smaller but you make up for it with the trimmings left over as you roll and cut the other ones).

To Assemble:
Make one empanada at a time and place them directly on a non-greased oven tray. Roll each ball into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. With an inverted 8-inch cake pan trace the circle and cut a perfect round.

Place about ½ cup filling on the upper half of each pastry round. Stuff one olive into the filling and add one-quarter of egg. Moisten the rim of the pastry Fold the dough over the filling to make an empanada and press hard on the wet rim with your knuckles to make it stick. Tuck the rims straight to make a rectangle. If making some empanadas with chili, mold the curved edge of the pastry and flute to shape them into a triangle. Press hard at the corners with your thumbs and prick the top a single time with a toothpick for the steam to come out in the oven. Brush top with egg yolk mixture. Bake in preheated hot oven (400ºF/200ºC) for about 30 to 35 minutes or until nicely brown. Make sure dough is well cooked in between creases. Serve hot.

Published in the AAC Spotlight in 1994


Filed under Food

23 responses to “Foolproof Chilean Beef Empanada de Horno

  1. Wow, thanks so much Margaret. My culinary skills do not go beyond making spaghetti. However, I am going to tackle the empanada recipe all by myself. I can already see how I may have a tough time keeping my wife from trying to help me, but I’m a big boy and I know I can manage. :0)

    Jumping onto a totally different subject, I want to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog. You have managed to attract a most interesting group of readers and I read all their comments.

    For me living up here close to Polar Bear country, it’s like getting a bit of Chile on a regular basis.

    Muchas gracias Senora.

    • Hi John- Good for you! I’m sure you will delight your wife with the results! Be sure to come back and let us know how they turned out! Who knows? It could work into a whole new sideline for you! There are certainly plenty of Chilenos up there in your neck of the woods who would appreciate a really good empanada!
      Thanks too for your kind words…and for your comments that lend so much to the conversation!

  2. Hi Margaret – Appreciate your suggestion about my cooking efforts becoming a “good sideline”. I am by no means the risk-adverse type but … I don’t want to get sued! I enjoy my freedom too much, :0)
    Oh yes, I will let you know how they turn out.

  3. Pingback: September in Chile: Una Rica Empanada Caldúa | Cachando Chile: Reflections on Chilean Culture

  4. Carlos

    Thanks for the recipe! My empanadas turned out great here in Chicago, best batch ever!

  5. I visited Chile a few years back, and although I haven’t made this recipe yet, I have no doubt that this is ‘it’. The search is over. Absolute gold. Thank you.

  6. Dave Coufal

    Margaret, I will be using this recipe to make my first try at baked empanadas. I’m using venison in lieu of beef, but certain that it will work well. A quick if you get this in time: I have heard that the empanadas freeze well from several sources. But none of those mention whether they freeze well before baking or after. Do you have any advice on that?

    Thank you for posting such a complete and usable recipe.

    • Hi Dave- Wow! Venison empanadas! Excellent… and quite possibly a first! Sounds like you’re from my neck of the woods too (northeastern US? or maybe eastern Canada?)
      Yes, empanadas do freeze well, although I’ve only heard of freezing them after baking… but it would certainly be worth a try beforehand… Let me know how it turns out!

  7. gladys

    Hi margaret ,after searching for recipes for empanadas Chilenas,i m right now making your recipe,it was one of the easiest one and hopefully will taste as good as they look,thank you very much for posting this recipe. I’ll tell you later how they turn out to be… in the oven right now, thanks again ,oh by the way, it is my first time trying to make empanadas and im from chile ,living in USA.

  8. Hi Gladys- Great! But “OJO” the recipe is not mine, but rather by Sonia Hofstadt–a wonderful cook and cooking instructor!
    Hope they turn out great!

  9. myrna (chilena)

    HI my mom usually puts white wine in her dough for emapanadas. Do you use that too sometimes? Viva Chile!!!

    • Wow- wine in the dough?? Never heard of that! sounds interesting… thanks for the idea!


      That’s traditional and makes the dough very yummy. Going to try this recipe this week. Fingers crossed! My hubby’s Chilean and misses these. I have not been happy with previous results. The pino never tastes right. This one looks good.

  10. Roxie Anderson

    I love empenadas chilenas! I am thrilled to find this recipe. Thanks so much. They are baking right now and can’t wait to be in empanada heaven. 🙂

  11. CS

    Thank you for this recipe I will be using it from now on to make empanadas! I have tried other dough recipes but this is the most straightforward and comes out flaky and delicious.

  12. Monty Pieman

    Hi there, interesting recipe. I am making a batch right now and was concerned at how wet the dough mix was. Actually I have added more flour. Maybe the problem is in the “cup” measurement as we don’t generally use that in the UK. Do you have a gram weight for the flour. Many thanks,
    Monty Pieman

  13. Lori Facas

    I am about to make your recipe. A good friend of mine is from Chile and he sent yours to me because it’s the closest to his moms and her empanadas are amazing! He did say that she uses bacon grease instead of the shortening unless using this recipe for fruit pie and that they soak the raisins in sherry overnight. You can totally taste it in the empanandas and it gives a unique great flavor!

  14. Beatriz Cuadra

    These are the real empanadas de horno, just like my mama made, even to the shopping the meat instead of using ground meat. There is only one thing I don’t remember and is using beef broth. Is it necessary? I remember her using lots of onions, browning them and reduced to produce the juice together with the meat juice. Como buena Chilena I would appreciate your comment on this.
    Now for my very favourite… Is it possible to make good humitas en Canada? Our Chilean corn, choclo, is so different!
    My daughter and I looking g forward for more Recepies from Chile and other Countries.


  15. Claudio

    Mine turned out hard as rocks, I followed directions well. Can anyone tell me where I went wrong? I’m kind of new at this. Thank you in advance.

  16. Patricia

    Love the recipe. I have never attempted to make empanadas in my life but after coming across this page I’m willing to do it!!!! I just wish there was a video on how to make these empanadas….

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