Thursday, July 28, 2011

Uruguay: A total meat-fest

South America is known for its beef. The gaucho has perhaps an even more romantic connotation than our cowboys - cattle are a big deal. Consequently, one of the most common Uruguayan meals is meat grilled over a wood fire, perhaps accompanied by some herb-y sauce. On the other hand, everything the Barbecue Bible listed for Uruguay was meat rolled up with stuff inside it. I made my own recipe based on what I had on hand (using chicken instead of beef since the beef version took about an hour to grill), and it was delicious! It couldn't even compare to the beef, though. We were a little worried about the short ribs, since after starting them in the oven they didn't smell super appetizing, but after a little time on the grill with some mojo (in this case, salt water) they were falling-apart tender and meaty. The flank steak wasn't really tender, but it was also delicious and highly edible. I'm looking forward to making tacos with the leftovers!

Another note: I'd read that South American short ribs are cut differently than American short ribs, so I went to a Latin market in Del Ray and talked to the butcher there about what I wanted. It was definitely a different cut, and worked really well. He also sliced the flank steak extra thin for me so that it cooked in no time! 

Chicken Pamplona
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips lengthwise
2 slices provolone cheese
4 slices cooked bacon, cut into thin strips lengthwise
8 kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise
dried oregano, salt, pepper, olive oil
Optional: hard-boiled eggs (I didn't use them, but they seem to be common)

Butterfly the chicken breast halves and pound them out carefully (you want a thinnish rectangle without holes, although the shape isn't super important). Lay a slice of provolone on each and top with other ingredients except olive oil (and I skipped salt because of the salty fillings). Roll from the smaller end (if there is one) and tie with twine, or do like I did and skewer it repeatedly to keep it rolled. Grill over medium heat, basting with olive oil, until done, about 15-20 minutes. Rest 5 minutes before unfastening, then either eat as is or slice up.

Uruguayan Grilled Beef (Asado)
Beef short ribs
Flank steak
Salt water

Wrap the short ribs in foil and throw in the oven at 300 for an hour or two. Throw them on the grill and pour over a little salt water on each side. Give them a nice sear. Grill the flank to desired doneness (for me, this didn't take long), pouring salt water on each side.* Eat both with chimichurri.

1 bunch cilantro
several cloves of garlic, minced (you really can't have too much garlic)
olive oil

Process all ingredients in a food processor, adding oil as necessary to get to the consistency you want (I made more of a paste, but a more liquid sauce is also acceptable). Taste frequently as the sauce should be highly seasoned.

*Note: We grilled the first side almost as brown as we wanted it, flipped, poured some salt water on the first side while the second side cooked, then flipped again and poured salt water on the second side while the first side cooked a little more. I'm pretty sure we stopped there.

what went in the chicken

tonnnnns of meat on the grill!

seriously awesome dinner (even though there were veggies)

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