New Recipe: Churrasco with Chimichurri

New Recipe: Churrasco with Chimichurri

Elevate your cookout game with this seasonally on-point, flavor-packed dish.

Finally, a summer meat option that trumps brats and burgers. If you want to grill steak (and who doesn't?) without breaking the bank, all you need is one perfect churrasco recipe.

What is churrasco steak?

Churrasco is a Latin American favorite come grilling season. It's hardly a secret, but you may be surprised by how easy it is to make at home! The term churrasco comes from the Spanish and Portuguese word for grilled meat, and you can find "churrascarias," or steakhouses, serving up the grilled specialty throughout South America. It can be made with a variety of meat cuts; skirt steak, flap steak, and the Brazilian favorite, picanha, are all traditional options.

How to make churrasco

This tasty churrasco and chimichurri entrée from Ericka Sanchez of Nibbles n Feasts has cookout written all over it. The thin flap sirloin steak is easy to grill or whip up in a frying pan — and it’s affordable to boot. It’s also perfect for summer: The flavor-packed Argentinian chimichurri sauce (which you’ll spoon onto the beef just before serving) highlights the seasons’ fresh herbs.

Thankfully, chimichurri is a no-cook affair — the less I need to use my stove in the summer, the better! It's also a rare chance to use up all of your leftover parsley, since it requires a whopping half cup. This recipe calls for the very welcome addition of cilantro, which punches up the fresh garden flavor even further. A tip: The chimichurri is even better if you make it a couple of hours ahead and let the flavors really meld.

Chimichurri 2

But first you’ve got to marinate the beef. Ericka wisely calls for two types of garlic here: garlic cloves and garlic salt. This ensures that the beef is sufficiently infused with enough delicious, garlicky flavor to balance the brightness of that chimichurri — and also ensures that your guests will shovel forkfuls of the finished product into their mouths with careless abandon.

So, mince those two garlic cloves: The finer you mince, the more pronounced the garlic flavor will be. Juice the lime until you get a quarter-cup (you may want to buy extra so you can squeeze some more lime juice on everything just before serving), then measure out two tablespoons of olive oil and a teaspoon of garlic salt. Stir all the ingredients together in a small bowl, and boom! You’ve got a marinade.

Place the beef in a large zip-top bag and pour that marinade in it. Seal the bag, letting out as much air as you can, then gently massage the marinade into the beef with your fingers. This tenderizes the meat and helps it to absorb those delicious juices. Finally, put the bag in the fridge and let it rest for at least an hour.

Now’s the time to get on that chimichurri sauce. Finely chop a half cup of cilantro and a half cup of flat-leaf parsley and toss them together in a medium-sized bowl. (Set aside that cutting board — you’ll need it again in about an hour, after you’ve cooked the beef.)

Add a half cup of olive oil, two tablespoons of red wine vinegar, and a quarter teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the bowl with the herbs, then whisk it all together until it’s well-combined. That's it — chimichurri is done! Cover the bowl and store it in the fridge until you need it.

If the weather's not condusive to tossing the beef on the grill, you can make it on the stove just as easily ... and it’s still just as delicious. Pull out a large frying pan or grill pan (cast-iron is ideal but any kind will do). Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the pan — canola, grapeseed, or any other high-heat oil will work as well — then turn the heat up to medium to warm the pan. Remove the beef from the marinade, shaking gently to let excess marinade drip off before putting it on the heat. Cook the beef for five minutes on each side, then place it on a cutting board to rest for at least five minutes before slicing. This ensures that the beef keeps more of its tasty juices, so it will be more flavorful and moist when you cut it.

Then comes the fun part: Slice the beef thinly and layer it in a crescent across your serving dish. Spoon the chimichurri down the center of the beef and around the edge of the plate (if you have enough to spare). Add kosher salt and squeezes of lime to taste, and you’ve got a substantial, seasonally on-point main course. Enjoy!