2019 note: we are still eating this meal all these years later. we've updated the recipe with some new tips and tricks, including a new recipe for chimichurri that comes out perfectly every time. check it out!
I cooked dinner for Jay's grandmother, Nanny last week and wanted something flavorful but not tooooooo crazy. This won, and Nanny has banned Jay from cooking at her house ever again or from being her grandson. She's fully adopted me and ditched him.
Not really, but she liked it a lot which made me happy because I like her and want her to like me. I think it worked.
There are a few redeeming qualities of this dish:
- I'm pretty sure it's Jay's favorite that I make. Jay?
- It's one of my favorites.
- It's healthy.
- It's foreign.
Argentinean Dinner with Chimichurri Sauce
That is a TERRIBLE name, but I really have no idea what else to call it. Basically, we're going to layer rice, chorizo, roasted peppers, grilled onions, and chicken on a platter, then top it with chimichurri, which is a Spanish/South American version of pesto - an herb sauce. Holy cow it's delicious, and DIFFERENT, but not so different that people who are picky don't like it. It's perfect. And healthy. And amazing.
Please try it. If you don't think you'll like it invite yourself over for dinner and I'll make it so you won't "waste" money on ingredients. Seriously - that's how confident I am that you'll love it.
The layers we are going to make, from bottom to top, are:
- plain white rice
- browned chorizo
- grilled onions
- grilled chicken
- roasted sweet peppers
- chimichurri sauce
- marinate the chicken while you get the veggies ready
- make the chimichurri so it can sit and become more flavorful early on (even the day before if you're feeling anxious about all the steps)
- roast the peppers ahead of time so you aren't waiting on them to cool at the very end.
Chimichurri is a blended herb sauce made with fresh herbs, vinegar, garlic, and liquid. It's very easy to make and SO flavorful - use it on steaks, spread on sandwiches, or as a salad dressing! YUM. For it, you'll need:
- 1 cup packed herbs - parsley in this case, but a mix of parsley, taragon, cilantro, and basil in some combination is great. 1/2 cup should be parsley, no less.
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red peppers (less if you don't like spice)
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1/2 cup liquid (olive oil, water, or chicken stock. I prefer a mix of olive oil and water to keep things light and highlight the herbs)
Here is a basic version of chimichurri that I adore!
Roasted Sweet Peppers
Roasted peppers are very easy to make yourself, but if you don't have time or don't feel like it jarred roasted red peppers would work JUST AS WELL in this recipe. There is zero shame in using lots of jarred or canned things in your life.
For roasted peppers, put peppers WHOLE, and UNSEASONED, on a baking sheet in the oven with the broiler turned on. Every ten minutes or so, check the peppers and turn them so that all sides become charred. We want the skin of the peppers to be black and inedible.
These peppers are about halfway done. Once they're very blackened (they might split - that's OK!), take them carefully out of the oven and put them in a bowl. Cover them with plastic wrap and LET THEM SIT for at least 15 minutes. This allows them to steam and the skin will separate from the flesh.
My arm isn't that hairy. I made Jay help. Once the peppers have steamed for at least 15 minutes (you could leave them for as long as you want), it's time to chop them up into pieces to get ready for our dinner!
First, cut the peppers in half.
This is a quick, easy chicken that require very little marinating time. I use boneless skinless chicken breasts, but feel free to use whatever you'd like! First, cut the chicken into 1-inch (get a ruler out) cubes. Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper, olive oil, and paprika. For 3 small (6-oz.) breasts I'd use 3 tablespoons of oil, a sprinkling of pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon paprika.
To cook, you could skewer the chicken and grill it, or leave the breasts whole on the grill and slice them once they're cooked. I like to cook the chicken over medium-high heat in a regular pan for 5-7 minutes until JUST not pink on the inside anymore. Then keep it off to the side until you're ready to layer everything together!
I always make the onions AFTER the chorizo, using the pan and pan drippings to flavor the onions. Onions that taste like meat are GOOD, man. Get a big onion, peel and halve it, and slice it into big slices - 1/2 to 3/4 inch.
Plain White Rice
Make some plain white rice. I use Japanese rice because I'm a fake-Asian freak and love my rice cooker, but any plain rice will do! Make enough for 6 people.
Hey - we made all the layers! Now we just throw everything together on a nice platter and EAT. And man oh man, will you eat. First, spread the rice on the platter, then top it with the chorizo.
Then put your layer of onions, followed by the grilled chicken bites.
THEN, add your roasted red peppers on top, and drizzle the whole mess with big spoonfuls of chimichurri.
OH WOW that looks good. And it IS good. I don't say that a lot (yeah, yeah I do, I know), but this is REALLY amazing and different and special. I know there are a lot of steps, but I promise once you do this once you'll see that it ISN'T hard, just has several components, and the end result is well worth the effort! Please let me know how you like it, and if you'd like to come over to have it at my house.
Have a great weekend!