I love this time of year as spring makes way for summer, the nights are lighter, the sun makes a few random and hopefully more permanent appearances and we start to eat and cook more out side. Grilled meats and veggies are a fantastic naturally gluten and grain free option and a great relaxed way to enjoy cooking and eating with friends.
Chimichurri is a superb summer cooking accompaniment, as it makes a wonderful sauce or marinade for barbecued meats or veggies and equally transforms a hot or cold dish into a different hemisphere.
For any vegans or non meat eaters please don’t be put off by the leading picture as Chimichurri is a wonderful meat and dairy free sauce that can be used with meat and veggies alike.
Chimichurri is believed to originate from Argentina but is also a speciality of Uruguay. The specifics of its origin’s of are a little blurred by time but it appears to have got its name from its creator who was an Irish or English beef importer named Jimmy McCurry or Jimmy Curry (depending on different sources) who was sympathetic to the Argentinian cause for independence in the 19th century. His name then over time became mispronounced until it became universally known as Chimichurri.
The composition of the sauce also derives somewhat from Italian influences on Argentinian cuisine, hence its similarity to Pesto in looks, upon taste there can be no confusion as where pesto is silky and smooth Chimichurri is rugged and bold. The ingredients for Chimichurri, are widely adapted by different countries, communities or occasions. The primary ingredients are flat leaf parsley, garlic, olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper, white wine vinegar, and can also some of the following ingredients; coriander (cilantro), onion, basil,thyme, lemon juice, and chilli.
Parsley is the common predominant ingredient in most variants of Chimichurri. As an ingredient Parsley is often hugely underrated as simply a decorative leaf but it holds super nutritional and health benefits (see the good stuff below). Married with the basil and garlic it is not only a very tasty sauce but one that is full of anti-infammatory properties, vitamins and antioxidants (see the good stuff below).
We have been making the most of the good weather recently in our garden and have been busy digging a herb garden. This is one of the first recipes I’ve been able to really reap the benefits from our new herb garden, which I’m really enjoying having just outside our kitchen.
For me Chimichurri is all about getting the right flavours for the ingredients you are eating with it. Using basil and a generous quantity of garlic is our favourite combo to date as it gives it a really powerful sweet but rich kick that is balanced by the parsley and given an extra zing if you add a good pinch of chilli flakes, which we really enjoy with barbecued locally farmed, grass feed beef.. Yum!
A powerfully flavoured Argentinian sauce ideal for dressing grilled foods, marinades and dips.
- 3 x cups, 135g, of fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
- 1 x cup, 45g, of fresh basil leaves
- 1 x cup, 237ml, of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 x cup of oregano leaves
- 6 x cloves of garlic
- 2 x tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- 1 x generous pinch of maldon sea salt
- 1 x teaspoon of chilli flakes (optional)
- In a food processor whiz up the oil, vinegar and garlic and then add the rest of the ingredients until all the leaves are roughly chopped and you have a sauce consistency.
- Alternatively if you don’t have a food processor finely chop the garlic, oregano, basil and parsley and then mix in the oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Notes: This sauce will keep well covered in a fridge for up to 1 week.
The Good Stuff
A rich source of vitamins, C, K, A and folic acid as well as antioxidants known to aid congestion and inflammation of the kidneys and bladder. Parsley is also known to be an effective treatment for constipation and a general digestive aid and overall tonic for the body as well as supporting healthy bones.
A good source of vitamins A, C, and K, omega-3 fatty acids, folate, calcium, iron and magnesium. It is also high in antioxidants which help support the body against free-radical damage. Anti inflammatory properties in Basil help fortify the digestive and nervous system, it is also a great antibacterial agent and is known as a remedy for headaches and insomnia.
A fantastic source of manganese, vitamins B1, B6 and C, calcium, copper and selenium. Garlic is a great anti-inflammatory ingredient benefiting the whole body, it also helps strengthen the immune system, removes toxins and pollutants, contains anti cancer substances and is known to help prevent bowel, breast and lung cancer. It helps regulate blood sugar levels and helps lower blood pressure reducing the risk of strokes and promoting a healthy heart. It is also a natural coagulant. It is easy to see why whole books are dedicated the health powers of this super food.