Tooting Family Kitchen

Tooting Family Kitchen

Fun Family Cooking

3. CHILE: Rustic Chilean Family Dishes

Hola! Here we are again for week 3, meal 3 of our 52 meal challenge, thank you for visiting! This week Tooting Family Kitchen visits the wonderful land of Chile, or “the long thin one” as my son will recognise it.

I visited Chile about 18 years ago. I was stationed in the Falklands Islands on a 7 month tour of duty with the British Army and had the opportunity to take my R&R (rest and recuperation) there instead of flying back to the UK for a week. As a young soldier who had spent the best part of 4 months living on a remote hill top, in a windowless converted iso container surrounded by penguins, I think I was more interested in Santiago’s nightlife and dashing up to the Chilean Andes for a few days of pretty crazy skiing than the food, but I do remember it being good!

Chile is a stunningly beautiful country. It’s that place where a National Geographic photo catches your eye in a dentist surgery waiting room prompting you to look closer. It’s that place when you are looking at the 352nd photo from a friends ’round the world’ trip and the beach and sunset shots are blurring into one and…hang on a sec…”can we go back to that last one?” It is a country of extremes driven by a variety of climates and from the Atacama Desert in the North, to Southern Patagonia, these dry, wet, hot, cold, arid and lush lands offer an abundance of diverse and natural ingredients that influence its food – and wine of course!

So before we get to the food. 3 interesting facts about Chile:

1) The Chilean Atacama Desert is the driest place on earth

2) The largest swimming pool in the world (no it’s not Tooting Lido) is in Chile

3) Chile is home to some of the largest active volcanoes in the world

The highlights of Chilean cuisine may be centred around the seafood and wine, given the vast coastline and fertile lands, but we have stuck mainly to everyday foods most likely to be found in the comfort of the home or a Santiago street food stand.

The dishes – Sopaipillas & Pebre, Empanadas de Pino, Machas a la Parmesana and Beef Cazuela

Filling the Empanadas

Topping the clams


Pebre is a type of Chilean salsa. It can be used on bread, or in this case Sopaipillas, or as an accompaniment to meat or fish, like a chimichurri. You can keep this in the fridge for a few days but tastes better fresh!

What’s in it...

2 tomatoes, chopped,
4 spring onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 bunch of coriander, chopped
2 tablespoons chilli and garlic sauce
1 tbsp good quality olive oil
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp of rock salt

What to do with it...

Blitz everything in a food processor and its ready. It’s best to leave in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the flavours come together!


Sopaipillas are a type of fried bread traditionally made with zapallo squash or pumpkin as an alternative. They are often sold at street food stands and can be eaten on their own or even with something sweet like honey, sugar or chocolate. Here I have chosen to use a mix of butternut squash and sweet potatoes which are ingredients readily available all year round in the UK and have topped them with Pebre.

What’s in it...

500g mix of butternut squash & sweet potato (1 of each with left overs)
400g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, melted

What to do with it...
  1. Peel and chop the vegetables into small cubes and boil for around 20 mins. Drain and mash and allow to cool off a little.
  2. Mix the butter into the mashed vegetables and combine with the mixed flour, baking soda and salt until blended together and not sticking to fingers (add more flour if necessary) and then knead for approx. 10 minutes on a flour dusted surface. Cover with a damp tea towel and rest for 20 mins.
  3. Roll the dough and cut in half, then half again until you have 16 equal measures. Roll each out (keeping remainder covered) and use pastry cutter or estimate 8cm diameter disc and 5mm thick. Poke each disc 3 or 4 times with a fork.
  4. Heat 5cm of oil in a deep pan (until you can brown a small piece of bread in 5 seconds) and fry for approx. 5 minutes, turning half way through, until golden (most likely in 2 batches) before draining on kitchen paper.
  5. Serve with a tbsp of Pebre in the middle (when ready to go to table to ensure it does not get soggy). Don’t dress all of them as leftovers are great as a snack on their own or with a sweet topping.

Empanadas de Pino

I think we will all recognise these! Everyone loves something wrapped in pastry right? I was dubious as to how the black olives and raisins with the sliced boiled egg would work in this and I didn’t have high hopes but it does…they are really, really good! Try it…

Empanada Dough

500g plain flour
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp chilled butter
12 tbsp chilled lard
2 egg yolks mixed with a 150 ml of water

Empanada Filling

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp butter
3 onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
500g minced beef
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp mild chili powder
2 tsp paprika
100ml beef stock
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup raisins, chopped
½ cup black olives, chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced 
1 egg yolk mixed with splash of water/milk

Empanada dough
  1. Mix the sifted flour, sugar and salt with the butter and lard until combined.
  2. Mix in the egg & water gradually until the contents starts to become smooth. When it has a dough like consistency and doesn’t stick to fingers knead for 10 mins on dusted surface, wrap in cling film and put in fridge of an hour or overnight.
  3. Roll and cut into 16 equal size portions and roll out into discs of approx. 15cm diameter and 5mm thick. Dust with cornflour.
Empanada Filling
  1. Heat the oil and butter in a large pan and fry onions until translucent, add garlic and continue to fry for a minute before adding spices, salt and pepper. Mix together and add the beef.
  2. Continue to fry the mixture until all the beef is browned and add flour, cooking it off for a minute before adding stock.
  3. Continue to cook for another minute, remove from heat and stir in raisins and olives.
Putting together
  1. Place 2 tbsp of empanada filling onto each dough disc and top with a slice of boiled egg.
  2. Brush the outside of each disc with water and fold in half sealing the edges and pleating.
  3. Brush each empanada with egg mix and bake in a pre-heated at 180 C for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Machas a la parmesana

At the request of our good friends Nicola and Marcus reminiscing on their ‘way back when’ trip to Chile! These would traditionally be made with Bivalve, a saltwater clam native to Chile. A milder melting cheese would also work well so as not to overpower the clams.

What’s in it...

500g of clams
White wine
Parmesan, grated

What to do with it...
  1. Soak the clams for at least 30 mins and then rinse and clean before shucking (be careful!) and separating the meat from the shells. Keep the meat in a bowl refrigerated whist you scrub the shells again.
  2. Place the clams back into the shells and in each one place a very small piece of garlic and butter, ½ tsp of cream, ½ tsp of white wine and top them all with the cheese.
  3. Place the shells and contents on a baking tray in a pre-heated oven and cook for 4 or 5 mins or until the cheese is just starting to brown.

Beef Cazuela

Interestingly most recipes I looked at for this had the cooking time as 30 – 40 mins. I would normally braise this cut of beef for a good 2 hours but took the middle ground and went for an hour. If you want the meat falling apart cook for longer and introduce the vegetables later

What's in it...

1 tbsp olive oil
1kg beef brisket, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 onions, quartered
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
6 potatoes, peeled and cut length ways in half
1sp cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
6 x 1 inch pieces of corn on the cob
Salt and pepper

What to do with it...
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan, season the beef with salt and pepper and brown off on all sides.
  2. Add the onions to the remaining oil and juices in the pan and fry for 5 mins, return the beef and stir in the spices.
  3. Stir everything and add the salt, cumin, oregano, and paprika and combine before adding flour and cooking off for 1 minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes, stock, potatoes and carrots and stir well. Bring to the boil, cover with lid and simmer for 1hr adding the corn for final 10 mins.
  5. When serving aim to have 1 corn, 1 potatoe and carrot and meat in each serving.
The finished article

Abigail patiently waiting for her Sopaipilla topped with Pebre!

Empanada de Pino & Sopaipilla with Pebre

Sam getting stuck into his Cazuela!

Chile…that was delicious!


Answers to last weeks questions: 1) b 2) a 3) b

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See you next week for our trip to Malaysia!


Stay safe,
Tooting Family Kitchen


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