Thursday, June 10, 2010

Matambre and Chimichurri

This is an Argentinian recipe...

"Matambre" means "hunger killer"- a fitting name, and the chimichurri is a traditional sauce which there are a million recipes for. Chimichurri is to Argentina what ketchup is to America, and it's used with grilled meats and various other dishes. It includes vinegar, oil, garlic, and parsley, as well a various other herbs and spices. This particular recipe happens to be a red version as it contains some tomato.

I was attempting to do a purging of cooking magazines, which is pretty much always useless for me. I can't seem to do it- nothing is purged.
However, it does help to give me some options for cooking. I thought this recipe looked really good and decided to try it.
It's a different use of the grill (not just burgers, steaks, and brats) and makes a nice meal for summer.

I must say my roulade rolling skills are fairly sub par.
In fact, I'm so great at it that today if there had been an "ugliest roulade rolling competition" I probably would have won, hands down. No contest.
I could use practice.
It may be that my hands aren't quite massive enough for the task.
OR maybe I just over filled the flank steak!

I ended up having to roll-tie-roll-tie-roll-tie down the length of the meat since it wouldn't stay put. It's ok though. It's acceptable.

One thing to remember is that if you plan to photograph your meat and it looks like a roulade massacre, you can dress it up a bit by tucking onions under the kitchen twine (and don't photograph the worst-looking part).

I didn't have exactly what I needed, so I had to substitute (not enough spinach, so I used some of the Swiss chard from the garden- no problem, they act the same).

The steak I bought was on the small side, so I did not actually end up using all the vegetables since they wouldn't all fit. I think I could have done without at least one of the carrots and half of the onion (it was not a small onion)... so I made some changes in the recipe here. I ended up using the part of the onion I didn't use for the chimichurri. Also, mine turned out somewhere between medium and well-done... I would have liked it more medium-rare. But, of course, grills aren't really the easiest to control.
It actually makes a pretty light dinner; the vegetables are all there and there's not TONS of meat.
I made some cous cous and the meal was complete!

The recipe is adapted from a now defunct publication called Taste (Summer, 2001).

(serves 6)

1 1/2 lb. beef flank steak, trimmed
2 c (4 oz.) spinach
3 carrots peeled, quartered lengthwise and parboiled 5 minutes
4 hard boiled eggs, quartered lengthwise
1 meduim onion, thinly sliced into rings
1/2 c finely chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 t paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill. Butterfly the flank steak by slicing horizontally from one long side to within 1/2 inch of the other side (good thing a flank steak is boneless and relatively rectangular). Open meat out like a book, cover with plastic wrap, and pound with a mallet to an even 1/2 inch thickness.
Spread spinach leaves over the meat. Arrange carrots and eggs at regular intervals. Scatter onions over the meat and sprinkle with parsley, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper.
Starting from long side, roll the meat tightly like a jelly roll. Tie with kitchen string and 1 1/2 inch intervals. Wrap tightly in 2 layers of aluminum foil.
Cook over medium fire, turning occasionally, until the internal temperature of the meat reacher 135 degrees F on a meat thermometer, 1- 1 1/4 hours for medium-rare meat.
Let the meat rest 10-15 minutes. Remove foil, cut into slices between strings, and serve.

Chimichurri Sauce
(The flavor will improve if made in advance. Chimichurri can be stored in a jar in the refrigerator 3 days)

1 c olive oil
1/2 c red wine vinegar
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped*
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3 c finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 t dried oregano
1 t chili powder
1 t paprika
1/2 t dried cumin
1 bay leaf, crumbled
1 t salt
freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, whisk together oil and vinegar. Add onion, tomato, parsley, oregano, chili powder, paprika, cumin, bay leaf, and salt. Mix well. Season with pepper to taste.
Let sauce stand for at least 2 hours before serving.

*To peel tomatoes:
Heat water in a small saucepan to boil. Cut a small, shallow "X" in the bottom of the tomatoes. Place tomatoes in boiling water for 3o seconds. Remove tomatoes to a bowl of ice water with a slotted spoon. Peel tomatoes by hand starting at the "X" incision.

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