Saturday, 6 August 2011

Now that was a BBQ!

Just like my trip to Russia I didn’t really know what to expect, but as always I had a blast. Burning meat on a BBQ is one of the best ways to bring people together in my opinion. We love our BBQ’s in Australia and as I discovered on this trip so do the Argentinians.
Being able to source the meat through the butcher made things very easy.  That combined with the salad and simplicity of making empanadas you couldn't ask for a better BBQ feast.

The best part about this adventure (as is probably to best part about any adventure) is discovering ways of cooking or combinations of flavour that I never knew about. With Argentina the real fun came in trying the Chimichurri and the Flan con Dulce de Leche. I never would have thought of attempting these, but they are so easy and really do add that something extra to the meal. The Chimichurri is a wonderful addition to a great piece of meat. It just gives your taste buds something else to think about whilst your chewing. The Flan con Dulce de Leche is an over the top sugar buzz. It is ridiculously sweet but for those caramel lovers a must to try.

But let’s get to the fun part… feedback time… drum roll please...

Preparation time: (how long does it really take?)

Chorizo – No time at all as you can get them at your local butcher.
Cordero – once again no time at all. Just pop down to the butcher and get yourself some lamb. I used a butterfly leg and then took ten minutes seasoning it with herbs.
Ensalada de lechuga, tomate, y cebolla: Another 10 minute delight. Simply cut up the onion and tomato and mix it in with the lettuce leaves. Can’t get any easier than that.
Chimichurri Sauce – Once you have all the ingredients lined up it only takes around ten minutes to knock this out – thank goodness for food processors  J and the smell is fantastic!
Empanadas  - Depending on how many you are making and the filling you are using allow around 30 minutes to prepare. As with the Pelmeni the more hands on deck the quicker. Putting in the filling and folding them is quick and simple. Once again anyone with kids try these – it’s another dish where they’ll love to get involved.

Flan con Dulce de Leche - 5 minutes to put together tops and 35 minutes to cook. Again a great kid friendly dish.

Ease to cook: (what does it involve?)
Chorizo – So easy – place on the BBQ and turn occasionally
Cordero – So easy – place on the BBQ on a medium heat cook 15-20 on one side, turn and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Let it rest and serve.
Ensalada de lechuga, tomate, y cebolla: NO cooking required slice and toss that’s all.
Chimichurri Sauce – Using the food processor this is very quick and simple. Put the ingredients in. Whizz it together with the push of a button.
Empanadas  - Very easy. The only time consuming part is cutting out the circles of pastry. Once you have them it is just a case of putting the filling in the middle of the circle and folding them over and pressing the edges with a fork. Place them in the oven to cook the pastry for around 15-20 minutes and serve

Flan con Dulce de Leche - 5 minutes to put together tops and 35 minutes to cook. Anyone who can open a can and crack an egg can do this. Is a little tricky placing the dish in the boiling water and covering it with the foil before placing it in the oven, but once you’ve done it once you’ll find it easy as you know what to do next time. I did take some time to make the caramel sauce. I chose to make the sauce from scratch using sugar, cream and butter - it took around 20 minutes to make. There are recipes out there though that do show you how to use sugar and water to make the sauce, but hey I love my caramel so took to longer option

Overall: (i'll use a scale of empty bowls - 5 empty bowls is the best - 1 empty bowl not the best

Chorizo – 4 empty bowls. A unique flavour that when mixed with the salad or vegetable empanada was delightful. Not sure you could eat more than one though in a sitting, but I could easily see this sausage becoming a BBQ regular.
Cordero – 5 empty bowls. lamb on a bbq is a winner. Season it with a bit of salt and rosemary and look out taste buds.
Ensalada de lechuga, tomate, y cebolla: 3 empty bowls. Yes it is an easy to make salad, but it needed something to make it more than just three ingredients in a bowl – not sure what though, but ideas are welcome for next time.
Chimichurri Sauce – 4 empty bowls. If you’re looking to add a kick to your next steak then definitely gives this a go. The flavours from the herbs combined give it a wonderful zest. I would reduce the amount of olive oil a little - I found it to be a little overpowering, but all in all in worked well with the meats on offer.
Empanadas  -  5 empty bowls. These were great. The vegetable filling in the pastry was just that something different. I can see how these are popular in Argentina. With no restriction on the fillings you could have a real blast experimenting with numerous combinations.

Flan con Dulce de Leche – 3 ½ empty bowls. It was very sweet a little too sweet for my liking however I would give it another go for sure. Maybe next time go easy on the caramel sauce and perhaps just with vanilla ice-cream.
As always enjoy the photos and stay tuned as my next destination will be decided in the next couple of days  J

BIG THANKS TO MY FOOD PAPARAZZI - SHAN :-) for taking all these gorgeous photos!
Making the caramel sauce

Making the flan

Making the chimichurri

The meat

Making empanadas


The ensalada

Cooked empanadas

Serving up
It all coming together
 Time for dessert

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