It is said that empanadas already existed in Chile while Don Pedro de Valdivia was still in our land.
When we are asked as Chileans of typical foods that represent us, surely the empanada is among the first places and I would dare to say that more than one will assert that it is a Chilean creation.
However, the reality is that many countries have some kind of empanada, with different types of doughs, fillings, sizes, shapes and names.
How are they prepared?
Probably the most typical Chilean empanada would be one that can be baked in an oven (conventional or clay one) or fried in oil or lard. The filling would have what we call “a pine” which is fried onion with small pieces of meat, seasoned with “aliños completos”, salt and merquen for those who like them hot.
Some raisins, an olive and a quarter of hard-boiled egg is also added to the above mentioned.
For years it has been the Sunday lunch of many families. I can remember many Sundays when together with my brethren, we went out with our father to fetch those delicious and expected empanadas. Obviously it had to be before noon to avoid having to wait in line or even worse to arrive when they were already sold out.
While we waited, we were able to watch the bakers assembling these empanadas – an event very entertaining for children. Finally we came out with a cardboard tray, wrapped in brown paper and secured with a hemp; the smell filled the car and the appetite was unbearable. Not to mention when some of the juice of the empanada drained through the cardboard to a seat or even worse, to the lap of the one who had the turn of carrying them.
After a while the cheese empanadas where incorporated with a Phyllo dough.
Nowadays you can find in the market a great variety apart from those already mentioned that go from:
Pine with: seafood, chicken
Cheese with: Ham, Shrimp, Neapolitan, chocolate, raspberries
Vegans: Mushroom, Dry Tomato, Cochayuyo, Changles
not forgetting “The Pequenes” that are seasoned like the Pino ones but their filling has got only onions, quite delicious nonetheless.
Sweet ones: Pear, Sweet potato, Alcayota, Quince
If you are in Santiago, this is the 2018 ranking
No matter where in Chile you might find yourself, you should not miss enjoying a juicy Chilean Empanada to form your own impression but be careful not to end up with this juice on your seat or lap.