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Question on making Chimichurri

patricium May 9, 2009 04:09 PM

I've made chimichurri sauce several times at home, and really love it. I've been de-stemming the (flat-leaf) parsley before throwing it in the food processor, but I'm wondering if that's really necessary. What do other people do? Will the stems cause the sauce to be too watery or fibrous?

If nobody has experience with this, I'll have to try it and report back.

Thanks!

  1. Sam Fujisaka May 9, 2009 04:31 PM

    I've always used the stems

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
      kchurchill5 May 12, 2009 05:22 PM

      Use them, I do, no difference. I make it a lot. Well, I need to refrase. Any real thick stems or ends I remove. From the leaves up I leave. I just cut off the thicker bottoms is all.

    2. alwayscooking May 9, 2009 04:36 PM

      I remove the stems (I think they are a bit astringent - less sweet) and save them for stock.

      1. Veggo May 9, 2009 05:41 PM

        I camp out in front of the business news and de-stem every leaf perfectly. It's a manly substitute for knitting, and a lot less work than dicing 3 Idaho potatoes for my vichysoisse fiasco.

        1. Veggo May 9, 2009 08:15 PM

          Out of curiosity, would you give us your chimichurri recipe? I'll post mine, and we'll see if they vary much.(I have posted mine twice, but don't cheat; give us yours).

          7 Replies
          1. re: Veggo
            patricium May 9, 2009 08:28 PM

            I start with a bunch of parsley, and put the leaves in the food processor. Add about a clove of minced garlic, about 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, and the juice from half a lemon. Then I squirt a couple tablespoons of olive oil in and process it until it's finely chopped but not smooth. I add a little more oil if needed to get it to saucify.

            Since I use the food processor, I'm thinking the stems would just blend into the sauce with a few extra pulses. Or maybe put the bottom half of the bunch in the processor first and give them a couple seconds head start.

            1. re: patricium
              Shrinkrap May 9, 2009 09:38 PM

              "saucify"...I like that...

              1. re: patricium
                Veggo May 10, 2009 05:39 AM

                Mine is:
                1 bunch flat parsley
                4 cloves garlic
                1/2 cup olive oil
                1/4 cup wine vinegar
                3 tbsp. lemon or lime juice
                1 tsp. salt
                1/2 tsp. black pepper
                1/2 tsp. cayenne
                I do the garlic first in a mini-chopper, then everything else but just a few seconds.
                Great stuff, I could eat it with a spoon. Fresh puts the jarred stuff to shame. I have one frequent guest who puts it on everything I serve: salad, baked potato, etc. I have to make a double batch.

                1. re: Veggo
                  Gio May 11, 2009 05:16 AM

                  Veggo's chimichurri sauce is really delicious. I've made it several times and it always tastes terrific. However, I use my chef's knife and chop, rather than the mini FP; also use flat leaf parsley w/o bottom stems. The key to this recipe is, I believe, all measurements at the discretion of the maker.

                  1. re: Veggo
                    Boccone Dolce May 16, 2009 01:17 PM

                    We live next door to a couple from PR- he taught me to make his version and I scribbled notes down on the back on an envelope that I now can not find...
                    I think it's roughly your recipe, plus it's got Cilantro, a few green olives and I use it on everything too- it's so good.
                    On nights he grills sausage, once he loads up the rolls he usually brings me one (I'm thinking he likes the yummy noises!) I have to have some now- wish I bought more parsley today, dammmmmmmmm. They are away for the weekend. Wonder if he has any in the fridge?

                    1. re: Boccone Dolce
                      Veggo May 16, 2009 01:25 PM

                      It's good on bratwurst, too.

                2. re: Veggo
                  kchurchill5 May 12, 2009 05:28 PM

                  Mine is Italian parsley, cilantro, red wine, olive oil, garlic, red pepper, olive oil, salt and pepper and lemon. Mini chopper for mine.

                3. c
                  comiendosiempre May 9, 2009 08:35 PM

                  The really lower (tougher) stems get thrown out by me. However, an Argentine friend of mine, who worked for awhile in a restaurant in Mar del Plata, swears that the proper parsley to use is the curly, and not the flat, and would only buy that one. No food processor, chop by hand, lots of garlic. I have never equaled her version,and go back and forth from curly to flat. Buena suerte.

                  1. d
                    dmd_kc May 9, 2009 11:10 PM

                    My bestest friend in the world is from Argentina. She and her parents have schooled me well in this king of condiments.

                    First rule: Every person who makes it has the best recipe ever. ;)

                    Use curly parsley. Chop off the extraneous stems below the leaves. NEVER use a food processor. Do everything by hand. Chop it till it's fine-ish, but not too fine. The unevenness of hand-milling is the key.

                    Use more garlic than you think it needs. Use corn or canola oil. With this much garlic and parsley, you're wasting your expensive extra-virgin olive oil.

                    Red wine vinegar only. As much red pepper flake as you like. Some Argentines make their chimi red with fire. Others use it just as a filigree. Your tastes should dictate.

                    The proportions are to taste. I've never once measured a single ingredient, but the foodpro is out out out. And so is the spendy parsley. Use whatever is easiest. When it's chopped, who cares about the texture of the leaves?

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: dmd_kc
                      patricium May 10, 2009 06:34 AM

                      It's the same price for flat or curly parsley here, so I'd switched to flat because it seems marginally easier for me to destem. I can see where using curly if you're chopping it by hand would make a difference in texture, because the flat leaves tend to be thicker. But I'll stick with the food processor. If I switch to hand chopping, I won't make it as often.

                      I go very light on the garlic because both me and my partner are not big fans of the raw garlic taste. And I've never much liked red wine vinegar - maybe I've never had good stuff. Just what I need - another kind of vinegar in my pantry. I already have white, cider, sherry, balsamic, and seasoned & unseasoned rice vinegar. ;-)

                      I'll buy a bunch of curly parsley next week and try it with just trimming the bottom-most stems off. Yay, scientific experimentation!

                      1. re: patricium
                        Veggo May 10, 2009 07:24 AM

                        I made it once with curly - results were distinctly different, beyond texture. I didn't care for it. Let us know your opinion.

                        1. re: Veggo
                          patricium May 10, 2009 07:11 PM

                          Hmm. This may mean I have to try stems-included with both flat leaved and curly parsley. I see a lot of Green Stuff in my near future. Good thing I just collected a bunch of ideas for using chimichurri.

                          1. re: patricium
                            patricium May 11, 2009 07:47 PM

                            I tried the stems-included version with curly parsley tonight. It's crunchier than the flat-leaf/no stems version. It seemed a little more watery too. Didn't seem much different in taste overall, possibly a bit less intense. But you can definitely tell the difference between little bits of curly leaves and bits of flat leaves.

                            The store didn't have any flat leaf. Interfering with scientific research, hmmph.

                        2. re: patricium
                          d
                          dmd_kc May 10, 2009 10:51 PM

                          Honestly, the food processor is faster -- but the result simply isn't real chimichurri. The slight variation in texture is just vital. But if it's between having it or not having it, I guess I'd have to go with doing what you're comfortable with. Just don't make it a pesto-type texture. The real thing is chopped bits in non-emulsified liquid. It should be extremely heterogeneous, stirred with each spoonful.

                      2. w
                        weezycom May 10, 2009 07:51 AM

                        Hmm....every chimichurri sauce I've eaten has had fresh oregano chopped into it; enough that the oregano was the predominant flavor. Guess those cooks must have been doing it wrong!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: weezycom
                          j
                          jenhen2 May 12, 2009 12:24 PM

                          I use a little cilantro, too, which adds an amazing flavor, IMO.

                        2. m
                          mr99203 May 10, 2009 08:42 PM

                          What do you all use chimichurri on?

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: mr99203
                            patricium May 11, 2009 04:38 AM

                            Besides as a sauce for grilled meats, I saute shrimp with it, and serve over polenta. Here are the other ideas I collected recently:
                            Use as a pasta sauce, or stir into rice.
                            On fish or chicken.
                            sandwich spread
                            pizza sauce
                            add to tomato sauces
                            on cooked potatoes
                            stirred into soup
                            as a "bruschetta" spread

                            1. re: patricium
                              m
                              mr99203 May 11, 2009 06:57 AM

                              yum, thanks for the ideas!

                              1. re: mr99203
                                yamalam May 13, 2009 12:40 PM

                                I've been serving it with my empanadas ever since I saw the idea on a blog.

                                I usually toast my garlic in a dry hot pan first to take some of the bite off it.

                                Love chimichurri! I've also had good versions with dried herbs. Maybe the beef was so amazing I didn't notice.

                            2. re: mr99203
                              Veggo May 11, 2009 04:52 AM

                              It "started" in Argentina and Uruguay as a companion for grilled beef, but is so tasty that it has the alternate uses that patricium notes.

                              1. re: mr99203
                                Jetgirly May 12, 2009 04:14 PM

                                I'm a vegetarian and I love it for dipping grilled vegetables.

                              2. j
                                jcattles May 12, 2009 12:16 PM

                                Have you tried the cuban version of chimichurri? I substitute cilantro for the parsly. I've also gone half parsely and half cilantro. I always add more garlic, but that's a personal preference. My daughter loves it and will practically eat it with a spoon. Give her a loaf of bread and chimichurri and she's a happy girl.

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: jcattles
                                  Paula76 May 12, 2009 02:57 PM

                                  Blasphemy! Sorry, just kidding..but as an Argy the sole mention of 'Cuban' chimichurri sends shivers down my spine! Was it Che Guevara who introduced it to the island? I am not a purist, I hasten to add but chimichurri is certainly not Cuban. However, in Argentina people make it in different ways (cilantro would only be used in modern recipes; never in traditional ones).

                                  Most people I know don't eat it very often; only with a good asado and as that doesn't exist here (in the UK), I have it once in a blue moon.

                                  1. re: Paula76
                                    Veggo May 12, 2009 03:40 PM

                                    I think part of the growing awareness and popularity of chimichurri in the States stems from the relative tastlessness and blandness of modern supermarket beef. It needs all the help it can get and chimichurri fills the bill. I also winced at the notion of a cuban version, but because beef there is so scarce.

                                    1. re: Veggo
                                      Paula76 May 12, 2009 03:50 PM

                                      Exactly...Most Cubans are trying to subsist on basic rations so I am guessing that the adaptation of chimichurri is something done mostly for tourists in restaurants the locals have no access to or by a few privileged ones with a bit more leeway in terms of ingredients.

                                      I love chimichurri but I think that probably the reason why us Argies do not have it that often is because the meat over there is so amazing that you mostly just want to have it on its own and savour it.

                                      1. re: Paula76
                                        Sam Fujisaka May 12, 2009 04:18 PM

                                        Our beef is equal to that of Argentina; but the best meat restaurant (rustic, semi-outdoors, very reasonable prices) here in Cali has a Gaucho meat jockey. The only thing is that they don't serve rice, so I have to take my own. If I'm going to have a steak, I need rice. But nothing is needed to sauce the meat.

                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                          Gio May 12, 2009 05:20 PM

                                          Sam - the restaurant lets you bring your own rice?? I've never heard of that. I don't doubt you, understand.... it's just not somwthing I'd ever expect.

                                          1. re: Gio
                                            Sam Fujisaka May 13, 2009 12:10 PM

                                            Joe, its pretty rustic. At the foot of the hills. Only open on weekends. Lots of familes with kids. The grill is out front next to the road. They don't care if you bring rice - we (friends, daughter) always get the steaks, a platter of sausages to start. Beers and soft drinks.

                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                              Gio May 13, 2009 01:18 PM

                                              That sounds wonderful, Sam. Thanks for explaining.

                                    2. re: Paula76
                                      j
                                      jcattles May 13, 2009 11:00 AM

                                      So sorry, I never meant to offend anyone. I used the term "cuban" simply because chimichurri with cilantro is in one of my cuban cookbooks. I do realize that it isn't traditional, and offer my apologies, but I still prefer it with cilantro as opposed to parsley.

                                      1. re: jcattles
                                        Veggo May 13, 2009 11:10 AM

                                        Gee, jcattles, no one was offended and certainly no apology is in order. I think we all wish that cubans who on average eat 2 meat meals per month (pork or chicken), had more frequent need/use for meat sauces. Their daily diet of beans, rice, and plantains is unfortunate. Your favorite cuban recipe would be welcome on the recipe board here- not many of us have cuban cookbooks!

                                        1. re: jcattles
                                          Paula76 May 13, 2009 03:24 PM

                                          None taken! I was half-joking in my post (forgive me as I am Argentinian but I m certainly not patriotic or a traditionalist in any way, shape or form). I think that what struck me is the irony of Cuban chimichurri when Cubans have such a basic diet and chimichurri is certainly not a staple in the island. But fusion is sometimes good...No need to apologise and I'd also be interested in some of the recipes from your book.

                                    3. patricium May 16, 2009 07:35 AM

                                      Final head-to-head taste-off results, with both curly and flat-leaf parsley:
                                      (I actually measured the ingredient amounts, to make sure both varieties were equivalent.)
                                      I cut off the lower portions of the stems, about where the leaves began. Used my usual food processor method, to the finely chopped but not quite emulsified stage. The sauces are a little more watery when stems are included. Not really enough to make a huge difference for most applications, though it might for some alternate uses like spreading it on a sandwich. The flavor is a little less intense. I like the texture of the flat-leaf better than the curly. The curly bits seem to retain a little of their "prickliness" even as tiny pieces, and I found that distracting. YMMV.

                                      Thanks, everyone, for your helpful comments and contributions!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: patricium
                                        alwayscooking May 16, 2009 08:17 AM

                                        Thank you for your thorough investigation and report back. I expect to see the full article in the upcoming New England Journal of Good Eats.

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