Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Balsamic Chimichurri Beef Brochettes

Parsley is not a herb I use often; I prefer stronger flavoured herbs such as basil and rosemary. I also tend to head out to the herb garden, where I never seem to plant parsley! I had, however, bought a bunch and it was needing to be used up soon...the first thing that came to mind was chimichurri.

Chimuchurri is an Argentinian sauce that is used with grilled meats, and has a base of parsley, along with garlic, onion, vinegar and olive oil. This would be perfect to use with the beef tenderloin ends that were left over from something else we had made. Brochettes it was!

Chimichurri uses red wine vinegar, but I had none, so I substituted balsamic vinegar. This did give a strange looking sauce, but the taste was not compromised in any way.

I grilled peppers, mushrooms, zucchini and onions for a salad, and made the Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salad as well.

In a small bowl, combine:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Cut the beef tenderloin into 1" chunks; I had 32 pieces, enough for 8 brochettes.

Rub the oil and spice mixture over the meat, cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours.

To make the chimichurri, place the following into a blender:

1/2 cup lightly packed fresh parsley
4 green onions, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, halved
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil

Puree until you have a smooth paste.

Taste and adjust seasoning. Add a pinch of chili flakes.

Keep refrigerated until needed.

About an hour before you start to grill the meat, remove it from the fridge.

Pour the chimichurri over the meat and mix well to combine, making sure that all of the meat pieces are well coated.

Place the beef chunks onto skewers. I used 4 pieces per brochette.

Cover and leave to come up to room temperature.

Cook the brochettes on a hot grill, turning often until done to your liking.

Allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve the brochettes, 2 per person, accompanied by side dishes of your choice. Extra chimichurri sauce can be passed at the table.

  • Parsley is the traditional herb for chimichurri, but it can be used with other herbs such as oregano, basil or cilantro. I used both the leaves and the stems, as the stems are tender enough to puree in the blender.
  • I used the green onions as I had four in the fridge and I prefer the milder taste of them over that of raw white or red onion. That being said, use the onions you have or like most.
  • As I mentioned, red wine vinegar is the usual type used when making chimichurri. The Balsamic gave the sauce a bizarre brownish green colour, but the taste was great. Balsamic vinegar is a bit stronger than red wine vinegar, and I also find that it can be a lot sweeter if you are using a well aged variety. White wine vinegar can also be used.
  • I used less olive oil than would normally be used; add extra if you want a runnier sauce.
  • Lemon zest can be added to the sauce to give a bit of brightness and freshness. Add a bit of the juice as well if you want.
  • I used a combination of black, green and pink peppercorns along with the ground cumin and olive oil rub. Use only black if that is what you have available.
  • Rubbing the meat with the salt, pepper and cumin allows it to absorb some flavour before you put the chimichurri onto it. Beef tenderloin doesn't really need to marinate for tenderness, which is why I chose not to add the chimichurri right away. 
  • If you use a less tender cut of beef, such as sirloin, leg or shoulder of lamb or chicken breast the chimichurri can be added to the meat and left overnight, or for at least 8 hours to help tenderize the meat. 
  • The meat can be cubed, combined with the chimichurri, put onto the skewers and frozen, well wrapped. Defrost the meat before cooking.
  • The meat can also be put onto a baking sheet and broiled, with or without skewers.
  • The chimichurri can be served as an accompanying sauce to plain grilled meats as well, instead of being used as the flavouring for the meat.
  • Mix a bit of chimichurri into some mayonnaise and add to burgers, wraps or sandwhiches.

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