It would just be too perfect if i professed that every single meal i cooked turned out perfectly... Last night i decided to tackle classic Argentian cuisine in the form of "Chimichurri" marinaded steak with a few accompaniments on the side and also some of that 'green rice' i made as part of my Mexican meal a few days back (See recipe in previous article) Now whilst i've never made this dish before, unfamiliarity has never done much to deter me from doing things before. I'm that rare breed of idiot that leaps in head first and sadly not always to a good effect.
Technically i didnt actually ruin the Chimichurri steak itself, it was actually the mad panic to get everything together which resulted in me adding a whole extra jug of water into the rice, assuming it was the correct measure. Of course when i checked the pot later, it looked more like green rice soup, rather than the fluffy emerald-tinged grains that i was expecting. I panicked! Rice is one of those things i have always struggled with in my life and being Iranian, its kind of expected of you to know how to cook it, as its a staple that is part of our heritage.
After the panic temporarily subsided, i quickly drained the excess liquid from the rice and washed it a little under cold water and returned it to the hob on a low heat to steam a bit. You know what? It wasnt that bad! But i am my own worst enemy, judge and jury, before my guests even had a chance to say anything i belted out "This green mush is supposed to be rice, but i ruined it!" - They laughed a bit but everyone cleared their plates and then some! In the morning, i received thank you emails and text messages, so clearly it wasnt that bad! I came home and looked at the leftovers just now, and you know what? The rice looked good, so my panic was unfounded after all! I guess sometimes we just push ourselves too hard and can be a bit too severe when we end up with a less-than-perfect outcome. Relaxation is the key to cooking a good meal. Pressure does nothing but ruin the meal.
So what is Chimichurri? Its simple really... Its a marinade (and often used as a sauce condiment also) usually for steak, which has an infamous affinity to Argentina, of course. The ingredients are a whole large bunch of chopped parsley (stalks and all) a whole bulb of garlic (minced or chopped), one large onion finely chopped onion, 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 6 tablespoons of olive oil and as many chilli pepper flakes as you can stand... and some people add thyme or oregano plus smoked paprika or other spices to suit their personal preference. Dont worry about all the high level of garlic content, as its only a marinade, you wont get the full effect only a subtle aroma and flavour of garlic....Think of it as a salad-dressing-style-marinade for meat. Vinegar is an excellent marinade as its acidity breaks down the fibres of the meat, which in turn tenderises it and enables the marinade to really penetrate the meat, making it tender. Marinating the beef for a few hours if you can and when its time to eat it, chargrilled medium rare beef is really how it should be served.
I served the steaks in strips, with a homemade guacamole, salsa, sour cream and some tortilla wraps and of course the 'green rice' too!! Try it, its absolutely perfect for cooking on the BBQ or just fry it in a scorching pan until blackened on the outside and rare on the inside. Any cut of steak works here, but because of the marination, you can really use the cheaper cuts like rump steak, onglet and my favourite skirt steak, which are superb and definitely the most authentic for this recipe. No wonder Gauchos love their jobs, all that beef and BBQ'ing under the stars... Its a wonderful treat any night of the year.