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Today's Recipe
Tuesday, 2007 August 28 - 10:13 pm
Churrasco con salsa chimichurri, y gallo pinto.

Years ago, I went with my friend Elena to Miami to spend Thanksgiving with her family. We weren't dating, though there was a vague implication that it would be a convenient deception if I acted like her boyfriend for that weekend... even though I was only one-for-three on her father's "three Cs" criteria (Catholic, Cuban, and college-educated). It was an interesting weekend: all her male relatives were named George, we weren't allowed to discuss her sister's lesbianism, and I was called el japonés all weekend.

Actually, I had a tremendously fun time that weekend. But the real subject of this article is FOOD: there was a certain dish I had at a Cuban restaurant in Miami. It's actually an Argentinian dish, called churrasco, a grilled skirt steak served with chimichurri sauce. Chimichurri is a pesto-like sauce, made with garlic and parsley.

I enjoyed this dish so much that I bought a bottle of chimichurri sauce at a Cuban grocery store, with the intent of figuring out how to make it myself. And now, a decade later, I finally got around to trying it.

Teh internets were somewhat mixed on how to make it. Most agreed on the garlic and parsley, most also mentioned oregano, some suggested adding oil and vinegar, and some suggested cumin and other spices. A few suggested lime juice. Only one mentioned the ingredient I thought was critical to the tart flavor of the sauce I had in Miami: grapefruit juice.

I decided to just experiment and make my own recipe. So I give you a true original:

Ken's Churrasco con Salsa Chimichurri

Take a large flank steak (16 oz); rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Pound the steak thoroughly with a meat tenderizer. Put in a dish or pan and rub with lime juice and black pepper on both sides. Set the steak in a refrigerator to marinate for an hour or more.

Prepare the chimichurri sauce:

2 lightly packed cups fresh parsley, with most stems removed
½ cup fresh oregano leaves (no stems)
12 cloves of garlic, peeled (heck, use the whole head)
1½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup grapefruit juice
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients in a food processor, and blend into a sauce.

Take the steak out of the refrigerator and leave it out for 30 minutes. Grill the steak over medium-high flame to desired doneness. (The steak really has to be grilled to come out right. A broiler could work in a pinch, or a cast-iron grill pan, but try to grill if you can.) Four minutes on each side is about right for medium-rare, but much depends on the thickness of the steak and the temperature of the grill. Test the steak with a meat thermometer, or better yet, using a touch test. Don't cut the steak to see how done it is; all the juices will run out.

After cooking the steak, let it rest for three or four minutes. Cut it thinly, across the grain. Drizzle some chimichurri sauce on it, say one Hail Mary, and serve immediately. Makes four servings (or two, if you eat like I do).

Here's my version, with gallo pinto (rice and beans) and sauted bell peppers:

The gallo pinto is from a box. The brand name is "Nueva Cocina" and I bought it at Harris Teeter. Thus far, I haven't been able to make my own recipe that's any better.

This dish was goooooood, if I do say so myself. And it's pretty healthy: flank steak is pretty lean, and the sauce is low in calories and high in antioxidants. And the best part of all? You finally have a use for all that parsley you have left over when you use one or two sprigs as a garnish for something.
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Posted by Ken in: food


Comment #1 from DonnaF (Guest)
2007 Aug 28 - 11:56 pm : #
Sounds really good.

Comments are closed for this post.

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