Margarita's International Recipes


Pastel de Choclo

Corn Pie

Corn pie is Chile's national dish and though I'm not a big fan of corn, I knew I had to make it. Good thing I did because, even though mine didn't turn out right, it was quite tasty, specially served as a leftover.

The pie consists of three layers: one of chunks of chicken, another of seasoned ground beef, and a final one of pureed corn. I had no problems with the chicken nor the beef - but I wasn't able to get the puree to have the right consistency. The problem was that in order to pass it through a sieve, as the cookbook recommended, I had to add more water to the corn (I was out of milk by then) - and that made the mixture too watery once I went to cook it. I suspect that the corn is supposed to harden into a crust, mine was watery and my husband insisted in calling a dish a "corn soup" rather than a pie (he still enjoyed it). So, if you do make it, don't try to pass it through a sieve, just go ahead and cook it.

One thing that amused me about this dish is that the ground beef in the recipe is made almost exactly, if not exactly, like Argentine empanada filling. Indeed, it incorporates raisins, olives and hard-boiled eggs - just like my mother's empanadas. When I made it I skipped the olives and eggs, because I don't like them, but if you are fond of either or both, they will add a more authentic flavor.

One last warning is to not add too much sugar. I think I overdid it, and my daughter thought the pie was too sweet to eat (imagine that).

Corn Pie


  • 3 lbs chicken parts
  • 1 celery rib
  • 5 parsley sprigs
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. coarse salt
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 12 green olives (optional)
  • 2 hard cooked eggs, quartered (optional)
  • 2 packages frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • powdered and/or regular sugar (optional).


Put the chicken pieces, the celery and parsley in a pot. Sprinkle with oregano. Fill the pot with cold water, add coarse salt, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the temperature down to loan, and gently simmer covered until the chicken is tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the broth. Then remove and tear into large chunks. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium heat in a large, deep skillet. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the ground beef, the garlic, cumin, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper and saute until the meat is cooked, about 7 minutes. Stir frequently. Add the paprika and cook for 1 more minute.

Immerse the raisins in hot water and rest for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Prepare the topping by pureeing the corn with the milk. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet and add the corn pure, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Stir and add the egg. Stir constantly on low heat until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 3-4 minutes. Adjust seasonings.

Pre-heat oven to 375F.

Grease a large oven-safe gratin dish and put the chicken on the bottom. Top with the ground beef. Add the raisins and green olives and eggs, if using. Top with the corn mixture. Sprinkle with sugar, if using. .

Place the pie in the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until the topping is lightly caramelized.

Adapted from a recipe in Ruth Van Waerebeek-Gonzalez's The Chilean Kitchen

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