I grew up in Mendoza, Argentina, in the eastern foothills of the Andes. Argentinean food culture is all about meat, and the centrepiece is asado: barbecue. Argentinean asados are weekly, all-day gatherings that start with building a fire to create coals — enough to keep the grill hot for the bounty to come. The beauty of an asado is that you cook many different kinds of meat throughout the day. You start with morcillas, or blood sausages and chorizos that cook very fast; these are the appetisers.
And then it’s time for the costillas — short ribs — the most popular cut. To go with them, there must be chimichurri. Argentinean chimichurri typically uses parsley and red wine vinegar, but I make mine with balsamic; it’s a little sweeter and stronger that way. The best thing about chimichurri is that today it’s good, but tomorrow it’s even better.
Mendoza is also the land of Malbec, with more than 800 wineries in the area. When I was a little girl, I loved to walk between the vineyard rows like I was on a balance beam. As an adult, I enjoy those vineyards in a different way, with a glass of one of my favourite Malbecs — El Enemigo. Surrounded by family, friends, and food, an asado is still the perfect way to spend a Saturday.
Cook with League of Kitchens
Mirta Rinaldi teaches Argentinean cooking through the League of Kitchens, a culturally immersive culinary experience where immigrant women teach cooking classes from their home kitchens.
This story first appeared on www.foodandwine.com
(Main and Feature Image Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis)
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