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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