If you’re going to master the art of Argentine asado, you have to get to know achuras! From the crispy chinchulines to the more exotic morcilla, they bring unique flavors and textures to the grill. Having lived in Argentina for many years, I’ve come to appreciate the role achuras play in our Argentine asado tradition. So, fire up your parrilla and get ready to taste the best chinchulin, mollejas and chorizo. 

achuras chinchulin

Understanding What Are Achuras

Let’s dive into the world of achuras. If you’re going to master the art of the asado, you have to get to know them! Many times, they are the secret stars of any asado.

Chinchulines (small intestines) 

I know what you’re thinking—intestines? Really? Yes, really! When cooked just right, chinchulines can be really delicious, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Give them a good rinse, a splash of vinegar, and a sprinkle of salt. Grill them over medium heat until they’re golden brown and slightly crunchy and then serve them hot off the grill with a squeeze of lemon juice. 

Mollejas (sweetbreads) 

Next, we have mollejas, or sweetbreads. These are not what you think of when you hear “sweet” or “bread.” They’re actually the cow’s thymus glands or pancreas. When grilled to perfection, they’re creamy and rich, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Eat them with a little more lemon juice and some salt. They’re delicious on their own or with a fresh salad.

Riñones (kidneys) 

Moving on to riñones, or kidneys, they have a strong, distinctive flavor that pairs well with garlic and parsley. Before grilling, soak them in water with a touch of vinegar to mellow out the intensity. Cook them until they’re nicely browned on the outside but still juicy inside. Serve hot with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and a wedge of lemon. They’re great alongside grilled vegetables or a simple green salad.

Morcilla (blood sausage) 

Now, let’s talk about morcilla, the famous blood sausage. Made from pig’s blood, fat, and spices, it’s a rich, savory sausage that’s absolutely packed with flavor. Not much prep is needed here, but make sure they’re at room temperature before grilling to ensure even cooking. Grill it slowly so it doesn’t burst, and enjoy its velvety, spiced flavor with crusty bread.

achuras morcilla

Chorizo (sausage) 

Last but definitely not least, we have chorizo, mostly eaten in choripan. This is probably the most familiar of the achuras. Chorizo is a spicy, flavorful sausage that’s a hit with everyone. The beauty of chorizo is in its simplicity—throw it on the grill, let it sizzle and crisp up, and you’re in for a treat. This usually takes about 10-15 minutes. It’s juicy, savory, and a little spicy, making it a perfect companion to the rest of your grilled goodies.

Cultural and Culinary Significance

In Argentina, the asado isn’t just a meal; it’s a way of life, a tradition that brings friends and family together. Achuras play a crucial role in this ritual, adding depth and variety to the Argentine parrilla. 

Achuras have been a part of Argentine cuisine for centuries. The practice of nose-to-tail eating ensures that every part of the animal is used, and it comes from the gauchos who used to live in the Argentine Pampas. This tradition has been passed down through generations, making achuras a very important part of Argentine asado today.

Nutritional Value

Now, you may think that achuras are just delicious, fatty meals, but they’re also packed with nutrients that are often not present in more conventional cuts of meat

  • Chinchulines are surprisingly rich in protein and provide a good source of vitamins B12 and B6, which are essential for energy metabolism and brain health. 
  • Mollejas are high in protein and also provide healthy fats, which are crucial for hormone production and cell health.
  • Riñones offer a high concentration of protein, vitamins B12 and B2 (riboflavin), and iron. These nutrients are vital for red blood cell formation and energy production. 
  • Morcilla is rich in iron, especially heme iron, which is easily absorbed by the body. It’s also a good source of protein and provides a mix of vitamins and minerals like zinc, potassium, and vitamin B12.
  • While chorizo is a bit indulgent, it still offers nutritional benefits. It’s high in protein and contains a good amount of vitamins B1, B3, and B6, as well as minerals like selenium and phosphorus. 

Conclusion

All in all, achuras are integral to Argentine asado, adding depth, variety, and a touch of history to the grill. From the exotic chinchulines to the iron-packed morcilla, achuras can take your asado skills to the next level. So next time you light up the grill, don’t just stick to the familiar cuts. Embrace achuras, you won’t regret this!

There’s something special about Argentine meat. If you’ve ever used Argentine beef to prepare your asados or simply cooking in the kitchen, you know what I mean, its unique in a way that’s hard to describe! But what exactly makes it so exceptional? As someone who has been living in Argentina for many years and loves meat, I’m excited to share my insights with you.

The Rich History of Argentine Beef

Argentina has a long history with beef. It dates back to the 16th century when Spanish settlers brought cattle to the Pampas. As the herds multiplied, the Pampas became synonymous with abundant, high-quality beef. The gauchos, the skilled horsemen and cattle herders of the region, played a crucial role in developing practices that put livestock first. 

For example, cattle roamed freely, feeding on natural pastures rather than being confined to feedlots. Today, Argentine beef undergoes strict quality controls by the National Institute of Meat Promotion (IPCVA). All of this gives Argentina its reputation as a producer of some of the finest beef in the world. 

Ideal Grazing Conditions

The Pampas are key for Argentine meat to be so delicious. This region has vast, fertile grasslands where cattle graze freely on natural pastures. This diet of rich grass contributes to the special flavor and tenderness of the meat used in Argentine Asado. There is no artificial feed or confined spaces, just open fields and pure nature.

Unique Breeding Practices

Argentine ranchers take pride in their cattle, dedicating time and effort to ensure the highest standards in breeding practices. These ranchers often come from generations of cattle farmers who have passed down their expertise and commitment to excellence. 

Unlike some mass production methods found elsewhere, Argentines prioritize quality over quantity, enhancing tenderness, marbling, and flavor.

To achieve this, they start with the careful selection of breeding stock, often choosing from heritage breeds known for their superiority. The cattle are typically raised on expansive pastures, where they graze on natural grasses. This grass-fed diet not only contributes to the health and well-being of the cattle but also imparts a unique flavor to the meat, distinguishing it from grain-fed beef.

The result is healthier and exceptionally well-marbled beef (with intramuscular fat that runs through the meat), is a key factor in the texture and taste of the beef! This is particularly evident in popular cuts like T-bone, which are known worldwide for their flavor.

Why is Argentine Meat So Good?

Time-Honored Techniques

Another thing that stands out is the traditional Argentine way of cooking meat. The “asado” or barbecue is more than a meal; it’s a social event. Meat is cooked slowly over wood or charcoal, enhancing its flavors and making it unique. 

The asado starts with a special fire-building process. Grill masters, called “asadores,” carefully manage the heat to cook the meat slowly and evenly. To accompany this Argentine meat, you can also prepare your own chimichurri sauce—a mix of parsley, garlic, vinegar, and oil—which is served with your asado, creating a unique experience.

Meat Cuts: Why Are They Special?

Argentine cuisine offers a wide variety of quality beef cuts. Popular ones such as bife de chorizo (sirloin), ojo de bife (ribeye), and vacío (brisket) are well-known – or should be! – by meat lovers worldwide. Compared to beef from other countries, Argentine cuts are often described as more tender and juicier. 

For instance, the bife de chorizo often includes a layer of fat that melts during cooking, enriching the meat with a buttery flavor. On the other hand, the Argentine ribeye features marbling throughout the muscle. This high-fat content makes this cut both tender and flavorful!

Argentine Meat So Good

Try Out Argentine Meat: You Won’t Regret It

From my perspective, Argentine meat isn’t just good; it’s exceptional. From the grazing conditions and breeding practices to the cooking techniques and government standards, every step ensures top quality. If you love beef and haven’t tried Argentine meat, you’re truly missing out! Grab your parrilla, select top Argentine meat cuts and taste the difference yourself.

Today I want to share with you another very popular Argentine sauce: salsa criolla. This is a vibrant and tangy salsamade from tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and vinegar. Preparing it is as easy as it’s delicious!

Would you like to taste it with your favorite Argentine asado? Here I’m sharing with you all the secrets of the perfect salsa criolla for your grilled meat. 

What is Salsa Criolla exactly?

Born from a melting pot of influences—spanning from indigenous peoples to European ones—Salsa Criolla has deep roots in the cultural heritage of Argentina. Legend has it that Salsa Criolla is a combination of Spanish and Italian immigrants who settled in Argentina in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Salsa Criolla: A Bit Of History

Drawing inspiration from their own culinary traditions, these pioneers put their own spin on local ingredients, creating a sauce that serves as the perfect complement to Argentine asado (similar to what happens with chimichurri). Today, you’ll find places like Salta where salsa criolla is even served with empanadas or as a topping for sandwiches

The Best Salsa Criolla Recipe You’ll Find

Ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work? Here’s the best recipe for salsa criolla you’ll ever find: 

Ingredients:

2 large red onions, thinly sliced

2 ripe tomatoes, diced

1 bell pepper (red and green), thinly sliced

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the ingredients for Salsa Criolla

Begin by thinly slicing the red onions and bell peppers. I know it’s difficult when onions are making you weep 😂, but aim for uniformity in size! 

Then, dice ripe, flavorful tomatoes for added sweetness. Roma tomatoes are a popular choice due to their firm texture and rich taste, but feel free to use any variety you prefer. Finally, chop the fresh parsley, discarding the stems and finely mincing the leaves to release their aromatic oils.

Combine & add flavor

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients (except for parsley) and then pour the vinegar and extra virgin olive oil over the mixture. Before adding the chopped parsley, give it a quick rinse under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels to remove any dirt or grit. 

Experiment

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your salsa criolla! In addition to traditional spices like dried oregano or red pepper flakes, you can create your recipe and add other herbs and spices such as fresh cilantro, minced garlic, or even a splash of lime juice. 

salsa criolla recipe

Then, taste your Salsa Criolla and adjust the seasoning as needed. For example, if you feel it’s lacking in acidity, add a bit more vinegar.

Let it rest

Allow the salsa criolla to marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature so flavors can meld together. For even better taste, refrigerate it for a few hours or overnight. 

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or transfer the salsa criolla to an airtight container before refrigerating to prevent it from absorbing other odors in the fridge.

Once the salsa criolla has marinated to your liking, it’s ready to serve with your tira de asado or vacìo. Enjoy it as a condiment alongside grilled meats, poultry, or seafood. It also makes a delicious topping for sandwiches or salads! 

How To Store Salsa Criolla?

You don’t need to eat all of your salsa criolla right away: in fact, you can store it for future asados and enjoy it later. Here are some tips to store your homemade salsa criolla so it doesn’t spoil! 

  • While your salsa criolla may feel right when stored on the countertop, it’s much better to chill it in the back of the refrigerator, where temperatures are cooler and more consistent. 
  • As time passes, your salsa criolla will gradually lose its freshness and flavor. It’s important to keep track of how long it’s been in the refrigerator, so make sure to label your container. 
  • Generally, salsa criolla can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-5 days before it begins to ferment. Be sure to use it before it reaches this point!

Finally, did you know that different places in Argentina have their own version of salsa criolla? For example, in Buenos Aires you may find generous amounts of fresh cilantro in the mix, giving the sauce a bright kick. 

Meanwhile, in Salta they tend to use local chilli peppers and serve this sauce alongside traditional empanadas or grilled chorizo. Why not try all of these versions of salsa criolla and see which one you like best with your meat or grilled burgers?

Are you looking forward to your weekly asado but find yourself not knowing which sauce to use for your choripan or your t-bone steak? Enter the classic chimichurri, the most well-known Argentine sauce and the perfect companion to grilled meats. 

What is Chimichurri?

Made with fresh parsley, garlic, oregano, and a hint of chili pepper, chimichurri can be the perfect complement to your Argentine asado. And if you’re not sure how to prepare it, here’s a step-by-step guide to prepare the classic chimichurri recipe – the best you’ve ever tasted. Shall we?

classic chimichurri recipe

Origins of Chimichurri

Where does the eccentric name “chimichurri” come from? Its exact origins are somewhat debated, but it’s widely believed to have originated in Argentina, particularly among the gauchos who roamed the Argentine pampas during the 19th century.

Regarding its name, some people propose that it’s derived from the Basque word “tximitxurri,” meaning “a mixture of several things in no particular order,” which aptly describes the way this sauce is made.

Today, chimichurri’s popularity has spread far beyond the borders of Argentina and Uruguay, gaining recognition as a versatile condiment that pairs excellently with grilled meats, including beef, pork, chicken chorizo, and Patagonian lamb. 

Ingredients for Chimichurri Recipe:

1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the ingredients

Start by finely chopping the fresh parsley and mincing the garlic cloves, then put them into the same bowl. Even though it may be tempting to save time, avoid using dried parsley or garlic powder, as they won’t have the same taste.

Add the vinegar

Then, pour the white vinegar over the parsley and garlic mixture; its acidity will help balance the flavours and give the sauce its signature tang. 

If it’s your first time tasting chimichurri, perhaps you’d like to make it with milder acidity and a slightly sweeter undertone. In that case, you can use apple cider vinegar. Others prefer to prepare this sauce with red wine vinegar, which makes it stronger. 

classic chimichurri recipe step by step

Drizzle in the olive oil

Now, slowly drizzle the extra-virgin olive oil into the bowl, whisking continuously to emulsify the ingredients. You may find that some recipes opt for a blend of oils instead of just extra-virgin olive oil. 

For example, sunflower oil is very popular in Argentine cuisine, with its neutral taste and high smoke point. When it comes to chimichurri, it can add a lighter texture and ensure the sauce maintains its green color. 

Season with herbs and spices

Sprinkle the dried oregano and red pepper flakes (ají molido) over the mixture, then season with salt and pepper to taste while using a spoon or whisk to mix all the ingredients together. 

chimichurri recipe step by step

If you’re looking to experiment, some spices can make your chimichurri a bit more unique: 

  • Paprika, to give your chimichurri a smoky depth.
  • Cumin, for a touch of warmth and complexity.
  • Coriander to bring a citrusy, herbal brightness to the sauce. 
  • Cayenne pepper for a spicy kick. 

Taste and adjust

It’s time to taste your chimichurri and fine-tune it to your taste. So, grab a spoon, put a bit of the sauce on a piece of bread and taste it!

Perhaps you find that the chimichurri could benefit from a touch more acidity, so you can add more vinegar. Or maybe you realize you put too much ají molido, which you can solve by adding more oil. 

Let it rest

Time for the grand finale: cover the sauce and let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (don’t be tempted into using it right away!). Freshly prepared chimichurri can sometimes have sharp, intense flavors, particularly from the raw garlic and vinegar, that won’t be tasty. 

Instead, allowing your chimichurri sauce to rest will significantly enhance its texture while balancing its taste. Some experts even suggest preparing chimichurri a few days in advance or even weeks before you plan to use it to maximize its development.

And that’s it. Chimichurri is a versatile sauce, suitable to complement not only grilled meats but also seafood. So, the next time you find yourself in Argentina, be sure to keep an eye out for freshly prepared chimichurri and explore what this iconic condiment has to offer. 

Or maybe you’d like to experiment at home and expand your Argentine grilling repertoire with this step-by-step chimichurri recipe. Enjoy!

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