Everyone has their favourite sauces and accompaniments to enhance the flavours of their favourite meals. This isn’t something new, of course: humanity has been adding sauces and spices to food for centuries! And each culture has unique sauces that are inherent to its gastronomic identity. A good example is Chimichurri, a sauce that is popular throughout different countires in South America, particularly in Argentina. This sauce is so popular in the every day life of Argentines, there are many dishes you can try it with, here we list a few so you can eat like a local!
What is a chimichurri sauce?
Chimichurri, or chimi, as Argentines informally call it, is a sauce with a liquid consistency that is usually served with different foods, beef and choripán (a chorizo sandwich) being the most common. The chimichurri is, in general terms, a mixture of spices that includes oregano, parsley, garlic, vinegar, ground chili, salt, and oil.
All the ingredients of a good chimichurri must be very well chopped so that the final mixture is well emulsified. If you are going to prepare your own chimi, we recommend that you let it sit in a tightly sealed jar in your refrigerator. A couple of days is enough time for the mixture to infuse all that perfect flavour. Of course, if you want to know where to buy chimichurri sauce in Australia, we recommend that you try our products!
What is the origin of chimichurri?
When it comes to establishing the origin of chimichurri, there are several stories to explore.. One of the most widespread stories can be found in the book Crónicas de la emigración, version by the Galician immigrant in Argentina Manuel Corral. According to this writing, the chimichurri sauce could have been created by the Irish immigrant James McCury, who, missing the typical Worcestershire sauce from the United Kingdom, decided to mix all the ingredients that were within his reach. Allegedly, the name chimichurri, then, comes from the Argentine-style pronunciation of “Jimmy McCurry.”
But this is just one of the many versions of the origin of this sauce. Actually, the same author points to a second theory. It says that, during the English invasions that took place in Argentina at the beginning of the 19th century, British soldiers used to ask the waiters from the bars of Buenos Aires for curry, telling them “give me the curry”. The expression evolved phonetically until it became “chimichurri.“
A third theory suggests that the word comes from tximitxurri, a supposed word in Basque, the language spoken in the Spanish region of the Basque Country. This makes a lot of sense if we take into account that immigration from the Basque Country in Argentina was huge. Sadly, the hypothesis loses some support when we find that the word tximitxurri doesn’t exist in modern Basque dictionaries.
Five dishes made better with chimichurri
Enough of ancient history! We’re sure that you want to know which dishes you can add chimichurri to. The truth is that most meats are the perfect pairing for this sauce. However, the good thing about chimi is its versatility, which means that it is perfect for all kinds of foods: from fish to pasta. Let’s see some dishes made better with chimi.
Chimichurri with steak
Chimichurri with steak is a classic. You can make your own Argentine bbq, with traditional cuts of meat such as bife de chorizo, tira de asado, vacío and even mollejas. But don’t worry if you can’t find typical Argentine cuts of meat: you can add chimichurri to cuts that you will easily find in any Australian butcher shop: rump, rib fillet, porterhouse, brisket, short ribs, flank….
No doubt: choripán is one of the gastronomic symbols of Argentina. However, we know that the land of the gauchos and tango is quite far away, so we encourage you to look for fresh chorizos (not the traditional cured version) at a speciality butcher/any good butcher in the city where you live. Once you have a few chorizos, you can grill them, cut them “butterfly style” (that is, in half length-wise) and make your own choripan with soft white bread rolls and, of course, El Chori Chimi!
If you like pasta, such as spaghetti, gnocchi, or ravioli, don’t hesitate to add a good dose of chimichurri sauce to your dishes. Add some freshly shaved parmesan cheese to enhance the flavour and enjoy!
Breakfast with chimi
We usually associate chimichurri with foods that are eaten for lunch or dinner. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t eat it for breakfast. You can sprinkle chimichurri on all kinds of foods, like avocado or scrambled eggs, on toast.
You can put the chimi on practically any fish. We particularly recommend salmon and hake. You can cook the fish on a griddle in your kitchen and add the chimichurri to it while it finishes cooking. Add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end – delicious!
Add chimichurri to any fresh salad for a flavour kick! We recommend the Mediterranean salad of chickpeas, cherry tomato, cucumber, and purple onion. Add the chimichurri sauce at the end, a little salt, and enjoy.
We don’t know what the origin of chimichurri is. It could well have been created by accident by Jimmy McCurry, or perhaps its origin really comes from a sauce originally from the Basque Country. However, what we can be sure of is that it is delicious and very important for the gastronomic culture of Argentina. And we don’t blame them: chimichurri, or chimi, is great because it goes well with almost any type of food. We encourage you to include it in beef, pork, or chicken meat, but also on toasts with egg, avocado, and tomato. Enjoy!