My fondness for chimichurri started back in the early 90s when I was teaching in Colombia. There’s this great restaurant called Andres Carne de Res north of Bogota, and I remember having chimichurri with a steak there. First of all, the steak was one of the best I’d ever tasted (still), the stuffed grilled tomato on the side was fabulous, and the chimichurri just seemed to bring it all together. I seem to remember plenty of cilantro in their chimichurri, which is probably what drew me to it.
Chimichurri has its origins in Argentina but is popular throughout South America. The basic ingredients are herbs, garlic, olive oil, paprika, and vinegar, but there many variations and it seems that no two families make it the same way. Some people like to use just parsley, or combine parsley with cilantro or oregano, and the amounts of garlic and liquid ingredients vary. Some recipes have a little heat in the form of pepper flakes, and I’ll toss in a few every now and then. Roasting the garlic is another delightful variation that lends a subtle buttery flavor.
It’s a great all-purpose sauce that goes well with beef, chicken, and fish. Chimichurri is quick and easy and quite healthy with all the vitamins and minerals from the herbs and garlic. The parsley provides loads of vitamin C, which helps our bodies to absorb the iron in meat. We enjoy the freshness of the parsley and oregano from our garden. I usually add cilantro, but my plants are very slow in producing right now, so no cilantro this time.
This is my contribution to this week’s edition of Weekend Herb Blogging, a weekly event founded by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen. This week’s hosts are Amy and Johnny of We Are Never Full, so check out their blog next week for the round-up.
Makes about 2 cups.
large bunch of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, thick stems trimmed
handful of fresh cilantro leaves and stems
leaves from 2 to 3 stems of fresh oregano
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 to 1-1/2 cups (237 to 355 mil) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (119 mil) red wine vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1. Put the parsley, cilantro, oregano, garlic, and about 1/4 cup (59 mil) of the olive oil into the food processor and pulse until the leaves are coarsely ground.
2. Add the red wine vinegar, paprika, salt, and pepper and pulse. Continue to pulse while drizzling in more olive oil. The sauce should have a fair amount of liquid, though some people prefer it to be a little more dry, so check for consistency to meet your preference.
3. Serve immediately. Store in a lidded jar for up to one month in the refrigerator. If the olive oil thickens up, just allow the chimichurri to come to room temperature before using.