In the midst of this blistering cold winter, the southern hemisphere is experiencing something a little different, summertime. Sometimes, enjoying the food and wine of a warmer place helps to soothe us from the falling snow, ice, and wind. This brings me to this week’s column, in which I will be introducing a very interesting gastronomic region, Argentina. The food and wine of Argentina is simple, and should be enjoyed that way. A gathering of good company with Argentinean food and wine can be a comforting experience during the cold winter months.
Argentinean cuisine mostly consists of simply prepared meats and vegetables that are served by either grilling or roasting, alongside the country’s staple condiment, chimichurri. Chimichurri is a thick herb sauce as common in Argentina as ketchup is in the United States. It consists of olive oil, vinegar, and finely chopped parsley, oregano, onion ,and garlic, all seasoned with salt, cayenne, and black pepper.
The wines of Argentina are a very up and coming breed. Argentina is the fifth largest wine producing region in the world, and is the only country to specialize in varietal Malbec. Since 1999, Argentina has experienced some noteworthy vintages, and is currently releasing some excellent, top quality wines. The wines have a great deal of depth in their character, which is balanced with a good amount of fruit, oak, and earthiness from the clay rich soils. The wines of Argentina can be very attractive from the standpoint that they provide outstanding value. They can be enjoyed by themselves or alongside grilled or roasted meats (see below).
Below is a recipe for a true Argentinean experience.
Mixed Grill (or Roast) “Argentina Style” & Chimichurri – Serves 4
1 Ribeye steak (8 ounces)
1 Whole chicken (1 3/4 pounds), cut into pieces
2 Pork chops (4 ounces each)
4 Lamb loin chops
1 Bunch asparagus
Red pepper flakes
Course sea salt
2 Tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
2 Tablespoon oregano, finely chopped
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon red onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1. Preheat grill or oven to 400 degrees
2. Rub the meats and asparagus with olive oil, and season with the course sea salt and red pepper flakes.
3. If roasting, place meats on a baking sheet and roast for 7-10 minutes, or until desired doneness. If grilling, cook meat on each side for about 4 minutes.
4. For the asparagus, either grill for 2 minutes, or add to roasting pan with meats for 3 minutes.
5. For the chimichurri, combine all the remaining ingredients in a bowl, mix well, and set aside.
6. To serve, slice meats into thick slices, except for the lamb. Arrange with asparagus on a serving platter, and serve with small bowls of the chimichurri.
Suggested Wine Pairings
Here a few great examples of the wines from Argentinean vineyards that can be purchased for $10 and under.
Bodegas Y Vi