Authentic Chimichurri from Uruguay & Argentina is the best accompaniment to any barbecued or grilled meats!
Most recipe sites will swear that their Chimichurri is the best, most authentic chimichurri, and use words like ‘genuine,’ ‘real deal,’ or whatever words they can use to move up in Google search results. The truth is, there are so many variations in the world of Chimichurri, that it’s now difficult to say which is the closest to the most authentic recipe there is.
Wait. What is Chimichurri you may be asking? Chimichurri is a loose oil-based condiment used to accompany barbecued meats or churrasco.
How can I be so sure that THIS chimichurri is an authentic recipe? Simple. I asked my dad who is Uruguayan born and raised for the first 40 something years of his life, and one of the best cooks I know. He is sharing HIS recipe for chimichurri that he grew up with — and that I grew up with — for you. A version from way back in his time of 1935… and you can’t get any more authentic than that!
My dad, who has recently been diagnosed with late stage cancers, was sitting with me here at home last week, sharing chimichurri stories from his teen-hood and early twenties: his memories of barbecuing churrascos on HUGE old cast iron plates over open fire, and finishing the afternoon off with a street gamer of soccer. No internet. No phones. A time of pure happiness, while struggling with third world poverty. A time he now cherishes.
It was one of the best moments we’ve had together, and we’ve shared so many through the years, but this one was extra special with his recent diagnosis and the uncertainty of where we’re all headed.
So, I ran into the kitchen to start making his version and fired up my cast iron pan, while he watched over me, telling me HOW to chop and how much to use of each ingredient, and his advice of starting with a little of the strongest ingredients (like garlic, salt, and chili), then slowly adding more until reaching your desired taste. You can’t fix what there’s too much of. There’s no hiding with chimichurri. Start small and add gradually.
Now, every time I see a chimichurri recipe on the internet, I cringe a little. Not because they’re loaded with ‘wrong ingredients’, but because they’re processed to an all out puree in blenders and food processors. What is supposed to be a loose, oil based condiment becomes a herbed mash, which is more like eating baby food with your churrasco, rather than a beautiful silky condiment that drips over your steak or chicken or fish.
No, no no bueno.
Now, I’m NOT saying that this is the ONLY way to make a chimichuuri and don’t believe any one else’s recipes, EVER. I’m not THAT type of blogger. But, what I AM saying is, if you’re looking for an old-school style chimichurri recipe with beautiful flavours, then this recipe is for you.
Food processors….be gone.
- Finely chop your parsley before you start. I usually get a large handful, wash and finely chop, then measure. (My father doesn’t measure, he eye-balls, but you get the idea.) If you don’t have enough, grab a bit more, and chop again until you have the right amount.
- If you like the strong flavour of garlic, use 4 cloves, If you like milder garlic, start with 2 cloves; mix it all in and allow to sit for a few minutes. Then, taste test. If you’d like more, add more.
- Chimichurri can be adjusted to your taste. Add more salt, more pepper, less or more chili. It’s up to you. This is my father’s version and one we love. We hope you love it too!
- Fresh red chili is optional. We use a whole large chili, but you can use half, or none at all. You an also substitute it with 1-2 teaspoons of dried red chili flakes.
- Red wine vinegar is the best vinegar for chimichurri. Use lemon juice as a substitution. We don’t recommend balsamic or white vinegar.
Authentic Chimichurri (Uruguay & Argentina)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
- 3-4 cloves garlic , finely chopped or minced
- 2 small red chilies , or 1 red chili, deseeded and finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon finely chopped chili)
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 level teaspoon coarse salt
- pepper , to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes to release all of the flavours into the oil before using. Ideally, let it sit for more than 2 hours, if time allows.
- Chimichurri can be prepared earlier than needed, and refrigerated for 24 hours, if needed.
- Use to baste meats (chicken or steaks) while grilling or barbecuing. We don't use it as a marinade, but choose to baste our meats with chimichurri instead. However, you can use it as a marinade if you wish. Also, add a couple of tablespoons over your steak to serve.