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The Chilean Kitchen

75 Seasonal Recipes for Stews, Breads, Salads, Cocktails, Desserts, and More

Contributions by Araceli Paz
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These authentic recipes will bring classic Chilean flavors to your doorstep!

The Spanish phrase quédate un poquito, or “stay a while,” is the essence of Chilean hospitality—one does not “stop by for a quick bite” in Chile. Comprised of more than seventy authentic Chilean recipes, organized seasonally for maximum freshness, and tweaked ever-so-slightly to fit neatly into the US market, this book creates an accessible, authentic, and uniquely Chilean cooking experience. It marries Pilar’s family recipes and Eileen’s astute writings, which make even those who have never visited Chile feel like they have found home.

Seasonality is the backbone of the Chilean table—each of the four seasonal sections will include a short opening essay to prepare the reader for the bounty of the season. A unique fifth section is included for La Once, or tea time, which transcends the seasons but is quintessentially and irrevocably Chilean.

Mouthwatering recipes will include:
 

  • ​Caramelized onion empanadas
  • Double crusted spinach pie
  • Grilled steak soup
  • Pickled chicken thighs
  • Spicy pork ribs
  • Tomato shrimp stew
  • Dulce de leche thousand layer cake
  • Chilean white sangria
  • So many more!

Travel anywhere in the world, and people will ask you about your coun­try’s most traditional food. Continue on, and they might ask about your dance, your flag, or your flower. In Chile the answers to most of these questions is simple. The dance? The cueca, a coquet­tish coupled folk dance, where dancers hold and twirl white kerchiefs. The flag? Not dissimilar to that of Texas, red, white, and blue, with a lone white star on a blue background in the upper left cor­ner. Our flower is the copihue, or Chilean bellflower, a waxy pinkish bloom that hangs from a climbing vine that prefers the Valdivian rainforest in the mid-south of Chile.

But what about our food? You might know Chile best for wine, or maybe the bulk of your fruit that comes in the off-season—berries, and apples, and maybe avocado, depending on where you live. But these products tell the tini­est sliver of the story. There is no simple answer to describe our food, but this book is a good start. Reading it and pre­paring these meals will give you a better understanding of Chile’s dishes, history, culture, and language, and how they are all braided together to give us what we call comida chilena (Chilean food).

Chilean food traces its roots through our history, from indigenous cultures, pre-Columbian settlements, Spanish colonization, and waves of immigration since then. In the larger context of Latin American food, it can be described as criolla, a word used to mean the mix of Spanish and indigenous influences. Chilean cuisine has been in a huge state of flux in recent decades. The introduction of new agricultural prod­ucts is likely to continue to change the face of Chilean food, as will other global influences. Chileans who travel or live abroad and then come back to visit will introduce innovation, and importantly, the influx of people from other coun­tries, such as the recent arrival of many Venezuelans and Haitians to Chile, will change the face of Chilean food.

What we present here in The Chilean Kitchen is a snapshot of comida chilena that you could find in Chilean kitchens from approximately the 1980s through today. It is the food we seek out in res­taurants and cook at home. It is the food of grandparents and weekends in the country, of comfort food and así un plato (a serving thiiiis big).

We are so excited for you to use this book to learn about the homey, time­less classics of Chile, those to which we gravitate when the very best ingredients are in season. We are a culture of stews. Of squash and corn and tomatoes. Of meat (but not that much) and salads, so many salads. Of bread. Of celebrating with desserts and empanadas and com­pletos (Chilean-style hot dogs).

This book of Chilean recipes is about so much more than just the foods we eat. It is an invitation to understand Chilean culture. For each dish, we have looked at the historical, linguistic, and cultural roots and written about what it means to Chileans.

The Chilean Kitchen is our love letter to the food of a country that has molded who we are today. We are so excited for you to cook these traditional recipes, to fill your kitchens with the enticing smells and warmth, and share Chilean food with your own communities, new and old. We can’t wait to hear how it goes.

“I’m inspired to explore Chilean food—and culture—because of this book. Pilar Hernandez describes a country where language, food, and culture are interwoven with a strong emphasis on food grown in the region. Through this book, I was introduced to ingredients I’ve never cooked with and dishes I want to eat. There’s a strong sense of place—a true celebration of a country, a region, a culture.”
—James Beard Award-winning Chef Chris Shepherd, chef/owner, Underbelly Hospitality

“I couldn’t be more excited about this cookbook! I wasn’t very familiar with Chilean cuisine, but now want to try everything in this book!”
—Gina Homolka, New York Times bestselling author and Skinnytaste founder

“As global curiosity about Chile’s culinary history continues to grow, The Chilean Kitchen introduces home cooks to the beauty and bounty of the country’s most treasured recipes. Like a fulfilling sobremesa, this book celebrates the intersection of Chilean food and culture, offering both delicious bites and the rich contextual heritage that surrounds them.”
—Marie Elena Martinez, Cofounder of New Worlder

"The Chilean Kitchen is a ground-breaking cookbook detaching the immense continent of South America and giving light to Chile’s own, authentic cooking under the sun! Authors Pilar Hernandez and Eileen Smith created a beautiful travelogue, a thorough guide to regional Chilean dishes and ingredients and a great kitchen companion. I can’t wait to dig into these recipes and bring a piece of this beautiful country into my kitchen!"
—Leticia Moreinos Schwartz, Gourmand Award-winning author of The Brazilian KitchenMy Rio de Janeiro, and Latin Superfoods

“Food is culture and culture shapes our identity both as a nation as well as a person. What The Chilean Kitchen does is taking the first step towards the recognition of Chile as a culinary benchmark.”
—Oscar Barrera Marengo, MD, chef/owner of RAM

Praise for Pilar Hernandez's previous work

“She is part of a generation of women who cook with the cell phone in their hand, and that same spirit was translated into this book of homemade recipes, easy to prepare, quick and with ingredients found in the supermarket.” —Review Wikén, El Mercurio

“Easy to read and follow, it's full of little secrets to make special even the simplest recipes, and, speaking as a mom, the children have a very important place here.” —Begoña Uranga, Saturday Magazine

 “A tempting book from its first pages with recipes suitable for all types of cooks, browsing its pages opens your appetite in just seconds thanks to the excellent photographs taken by the outstanding photographer and gastronomic stylist Araceli Paz." —Camila Manríquez, Nirvino.cl