The history of Chimichurri

Chimichurri. Let’s say this word. Stress out the “r” sound and let the word come out.  Chimichurri isn’t a precooked sauce (or mixture) that is used to season roasted meat. It comes out in green colour (chimichurri verde) as well as in red (chimichurri rojo), and it consists one of the best ingredients in Argentinean cuisine.

Some mysteries may remain unresolved… Who built Stonehenge; Does Loch Ness monster really exist? What is going on in the Bermuda triangle? Let’s add one more mystery: Where did “chimichurri” name come from; The answer is pretty confusing just like the sauce itself. Many linguists believe that the name comes from the Basque dialect, in which tximitxurri, (it is pronounced chee-mee-CHOO-ree) is freely translated as «a mixture of different things in a random order»

Another story claims that the name comes from ‘Jimmy’s curry’, in which, Jimmy, was a British man that fought for the independence of Argentine. As his name was difficult for the Argentineans to pronounce it, it ended up chimichurri.

 Miguel Brasco, an Argentinean food critic, claims that the term was used for the first time when British people failed to prevail in Rio de la Plata and got captivated. The prisoners wanted to season their food and mixed English with Spanish sauces.

Historians of gastronomy believe that chimichurri was invented by the gauchos in order to make their roasted meat tastier. If this was really the case, they probably used dried spices instead of fresh because they could endure more.

Having an Argentinean origin, chimichurri, is traditionally made by chopped parsley, melted garlic, oregano and white vinegar, while in some local variations, they add red pepper flakes.

 Four myths about chimichurri that should be turned down :

It is not a pesto

   Chimichurri is not a kind of pesto. They may seem similar but they are very different in flavor. Pesto includes basil, olive oil, garlic, nuts and cheese. Chimichurri includes olive oil, water, vinegar, parsley and different species and vegetables.

Pesto is suitable for pasta, while chimichurri is more suitable for roasted meat.

It is not an Argentinean kind of ketchup

No, it is not. Argentineans use ketchup as everyone else. They simply don’t use it on roasted meat. They use chimichurri for this purpose, but they don’t use it for fried potatoes, hamburgers and hot-dogs.

It is not a marinade

 Chimichurri makes meat tastier just like other mixtures. It is used by a number of people for marinade, but those people are few.

 It is not an aromatic puree

Melting vegetables, spices and herbs is not what chimichurri is made of. Let’s have a look at mayonnaise for example. It is made by eggs, olive oil and acid liquids like lemon or vinegar. But, are all the mixtures with olive oil mayonnaise? No. In the same way, just by adding coriander, lime, cherry tomatoes and avocado in a blender, you don’t make a chimichurri.

Ιf you search in the library of gastronomy, you will find out that the books referring to the cuisine of Latin America written in 1991, make no reference to chimichurri . It is only mentioned in a collection of recipes in the magazine Time-Life “Foods of the World”. Since then, it started to become known all over the world, along with cookery books that had as a theme roasted dishes.

It can have a lively green color or a dark brown-red color, but the best chimichurri is full of coarse tasty herbs. It suits perfectly with an asado (Latin barbeque). If try this garlic Argentinean sauce, which is very easy to be prepared, you will wonder why you didn’t use it so long.

 How to eat Chimichurri

Let’s make something clear. – Like we said before chimichurri is not Argentinean ketchup. This is considered as a result by Argentineans, as for them, chimichurri is not a fast-food ingredient but a gourmet enjoyment. Besides, chimichurri is not served in McDonalds.

The most common way to serve chimichurri in Argentina is in a big bowl as an accompaniment to asado – roasted meat of Argentinean barbeque. Also, chorizo sausages or empanadas.

This sauce, is many-sided, so it’s a pity to restrict its use only in beef. It’s an undeniable fact that it is a great sauce for the beef but it is equally great for chicken or roasted fish.  Try the sauce with toasted bread. Season boiled potatoes with chimichurri  for a spicy accompaniment (perfect with meat). It is also great with roasted vegetables.

Serving a dish with a tasty sauce is undeniably the key to a successful meal. Argentinean’s love for beef can be seen in the festivals that they organize, in parrillas (grill restaurants), in matambre arrollada, in stuffed beef roll, in tasty empanadas and in their famous meat pies.

There are two kind of chimichurri as it was mentioned before; the red one and the green one. In the USA, the green one, with plenty of fresh parsley, appears more often in the menu than the red one and they are both used as a sauce and marinade.

When the herbs garden is covered with snow, the red one is more preferable, which is enriched with dried red chili peppers. The result is a richer flavor than the Mexican sauce, due to the olive oil.

If you try this delicious sauce, you will soon be tempted to use it in roasted vegetables, omelets and all kind of fish. Try this sauce in a toasted bread before adding the avocado or sauté mushrooms. Roast the beef and add some red chimichurri before rolling it in a tacos or add a little bit of the sauce in roasted potatoes. You can even try this sauce in pasta with cheese or in sandwiches with cheese. Trust me , it’s delicious …………

Click here for Chimichurri sauce (green)

Click here for Chimichurri sauce (red)

Click here for Spicemix del mondo Chimichurri

Click here for battering Chimichurri