Argentinean Style Beef with Fresh Herb Chimichurri
Because of the Bocuse d'Or blitz, Christey and I took a day to eat our way around the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. One of the city booths was Buenos Aires, where they served a beef with chimichurri that was probably one of our top-3 dishes in Epcot for this year's festival. A couple days ago, we were craving it again, and perusing my magazine collection, I found that Gourmet magazine had a Argentinean-Style Beef with Chimichurri just a couple months ago, in their August issue. It was adapted from the Abingdon Manor restaraunt in Latta, South Carolina, and I've adapted it myself to what I was able to buy or grow. While I was buying ingredients, I saw some wonderfully ripe yellow plantain, so I served it over some shredded plantain hashbrowns.
You can't beat fresh ingredients. Most of the herbs are from the store, but the thyme and red jalapeno are from my own yard.
So, I started with filet mignon, on sale but fresh and beefy. I trimmed off the usual silverskin and fat bits left on to net the store a few more cents per pound, then cubed into roughly 1 1/2" cubes (call it 3 cms).
Once cubed, I added salt and pepper, then worked on the Argentinean marinade. 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup shallots, chopped, 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped, 1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped, 3 cloves garlic, chopped, a couple tablespoon thyme, stripped, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, everything mixed together.
The beef marinades for at least four hours (so, this was lunchtime prepwork). After this goes in the fridge, then I work on the chimichurri, which rests for almost as long.
I start with 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, then a couple chopped shallots, another couple cloves of garlic, then a couple tablespoons each of chopped oregano, cilantro, and flat leaf (or Italian) parsley.
All of these went into a small food processor, along with a red jalapeno from the garden (and I'll once more mention the intensely beautiful and complex flavors of a ripe, red fruit like jalapeno, as opposed to the unripe bitterness of the green normally found in stores). The jalapeno was seeded and ribbed, to reduce the heat to a manageable level, then diced. Process, in pulse-pulse-pulse mode, until mixed well, yet still chunky and rough.
After four hours, I spiked the beef on two metal skewers, opposing each other. It just makes it a little easier to flip on the grill when there's two skewers -- the meat doesn't slide on the spikes and make it tough to turn.
The meat went on the grill for 4-5 minutes, then was turned for another 4-5 minutes. In the meantime, I peeled a yellow plantain (again, the wonderful, complex flavor of ripe yellow fruit, as opposed to the common green found in stores...) then shredded it in a food processor to get potato-like hashbrowns.
I heated a pan with some olive oil, then spread out the plantain to fry, again like hashbrowns.
The plantain finished just as the beef was ready to come off the grill
Plating was a plantain hashbrown with a few cubes of beef over the top, covered with chimichurri warmed to room temperature
Deconstruction: I still need to work on my plantain hashbrowns. These were pretty good, but it took too long to cook them, and I think they were still pretty moist from being ripe. Next time, I'll shred them earlier, and wring them dry in some paper towels to make sure they brown nicely in the oil. The taste was a wonderfully sweet and crunchy version of hashbrowns, but I need to perfect the technique a bit more. The beef and the chimichurri needed no such tinkering -- they were wonderful. The beef was amazingly tender, the oil helped brown/sear the outsides, and the vinegar tenderized an already tender cut of beef. The chimi gave a wonderfully herby vinaigrette taste to the beef. Both tastes, on top of the earthy/sweet/seared plantain made for a wonderful dinner, especially with a cold beer. We'll be making this again, and I'll keep working on my plantain hashbrowns.
One last fun shot of my one-year-old son, who can't eat filet yet, but knows something good is being prepped: