I was watching a documentary the other night about the history of the Brazilian bikini wax on the Discovery Channel when suddenly I got a taste for Brazilian churrasco.
For those not familiar with the Bossa Nova, churrasco is the South American version of BBQ. I have always been fascinated with Brazil from the girls of Ipanema to the girls dancing in the streets of Rio during Carnaval, or our Mardi gras.
Brazil is the largest country in South America and it has the fifth largest economy in the world. It is also the only country in the Americas that speaks Portuguese. I love the romance of the Portuguese language. “Cuspir não permitido.” Or, “No spitting allowed.”
Brazilian cuisine varies throughout the country. In the southern region many dishes have been influenced by Brazilian cowboys called Gauchos, cooking on the open range, much like our Tex-Mex style of cooking. The cuisine of the north is more seafood oriented but for my dime, Brazilian churrasco is where it’s at.
Churrasco in South America varies also from region to region. Think Kansas City or Memphis style BBQ or Texas and Carolina ‘Que. Thank God Taco Bell hasn’t gotten its hands on churrasco.
Churrasco is simply grilled skirt steak on real sword kebabs. The secret to the distinct flavor is marinating the beef in chimichurri sauce.
½ Bunch Fresh Parsley, Chopped
1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
8 Cloves Garlic, Peeled and Smashed
1 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
1 Cup Olive Oil
2 Lbs. Skirt or Flanks Steak, Cut across the grain into chunks
Throw everything but the beef in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
In a non-reactive bowl marinate meat in sauce, covered, overnight.
When ready to grill, place beef chunks on swords. You may alternate with vegetables if you wish. Grill until desired doneness, medium rare is best.
When serving dip chunks into fresh guacamole and serve with a side of black beans and rice.
The national beverage of Brazil is of course coffee. Juan Valdez and his burro roam the Brazilian countryside in search of only the finest coffee beans. No wait, sorry, that’s Colombia. Anyway, Cachaca, distilled from sugar cane is the most popular native spirit and the national cocktail is the Caipirinha.
2 Oz. Cachaca
1 Tsp. Sugar
Cut the lime into 8 wedges and fill a rock glass with the lime wedges and sugar. Mull the wedges until mixed. Fill the glass with ice, add the Cachaca and stir. Frou-frou umbrella optional.
So pull up a few swords of grilled churrasco, dip them in some Brazilian guacamole and sip on a Caipirinha.
Feliz Gente de Churrasco everybody!