South American Fusion – Chimichurri Quinoa and Steak Strips

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Last year, I spent a glorious 3 months travelling around South America with a friend. While there were definitely culinary highs and lows across the 7 countries we visited, the famous Argentinian steaks and the generally high quality Peruvian cuisine were some memorable highlights. So when I saw this recipe in the Good Housekeeping magazine, I was instantly sold on this trip down memory lane. In Argentina you will find steaks at their absolute best, usually served with a chimichurri mix, which is usually mainly composed of a few fresh green herbs and usually chilli flakes. Here, they’ve put a bit of a twist on the classic chimichurri and used it as a salad dressing for quinoa instead. And quinoa of course, is now one of Peru’s most famous food exports (we’ll have to save their ridiculously tasty Ceviche dish for another day) – you know it’s mainstream when Nando’s is selling it!

This dish came out really tasty and I’ve already been requested to make it again. This makes enough for 2 decent portions. The only thing that’s missing with this is some substantial vegetables, but that seems to be the South American way. I found out the hard way in Argentina when I ordered steak ‘con vegetales’ and got chips. So I’d recommend making some veggies to go with it.

Ingredients

  • 200g quinoa
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 140ml olive oil
  • 2 steaks (rump or sirloin, fat trimmed)
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 25g fresh coriander (handful)
  • 15g fresh parsley (half a handful)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano (or 25g fresh)
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced

How to make it…

1. First, toast the quinoa in a large frying pan on a medium heat for 3 minutes to release a slightly nutty flavour and to give it a bit of a crunch. If you have a lid for the pan, add the stock, bring to the boil and then simmer on a low heat for around 12 minutes or until the stock has been absorbed. Otherwise, transfer it to a saucepan for which you have a lid and do the same.

2. Using a food processor, make the dressing by blending the oil (saving 1 tbsp for cooking your steaks), garlic, coriander, parsley, oregano, chilli flakes, lemon juice and honey. You can add a little water if you find it’s not runny enough, but I didn’t find it necessary.

3. Rub the cumin into the steaks and season. Fry at a medium-high heat in a frying pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil, for about 2-3 minutes on each side for a medium rare. Cook for a longer or shorter period of time depending on how you like your steak and of course depending on thickness it may need slightly longer or shorter as well. Leave to rest before cutting them into strips.

4. Toss the dressing (saving a few tbsp to drizzle on top at the end) and tomatoes through the quinoa, and lay these over the top of the salad before adding the final dressing over the top.

Enjoy!

From Good Housekeeping June 2015 edition, page 180

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