Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chimichurri Steak Kebabs & Cilantro Lime Rice

The deck is finished and the first thing that found it's way back onto the deck was....

After a week without the Big Green Egg during the renovation, I was ready to fire that puppy up!

One of the books that has been inspiring my cooking this summer is Steven Raichlen's Planet Barbecue! It is a culinary journey through the hot spots of live fire cooking around the world. I'm not making the recipes exactly like his but I am taking his techniques and ideas.

For example, tonight I adapted "The Real Chimichurri" from his Buenos Aires "Heart-Stopper" recipe. Instead of using it as a condiment, I used it as a marinade to make quick and simple Chimichurri Steak Kebabs.

Chimichurri Steak Kebabs

Servings: 2 (4-5 kebabs)
1 ea ribeye steak, cut into 1" cubes
1 ea red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1" cubes
1 ea yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1" cubes

Chimichurri Marinade
Source: adapted from Planet Barbecue!

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt (coarse ground)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, fresh coarse ground
2 tablespoons crumbled dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use 2 for heat)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons cilantro, fresh chopped
1/4 cup olive oil

Cilantro Lime Rice
Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats

1/2 cup long grain rice
1 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, very finely diced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, very finely minced

Make the marinade first. Put the garlic in a mortar and pestle, top with salt, black pepper, red pepper, and oregano. Now crush, muddle, grind (whatever you want to call it) to mix it all into a paste. Note: My oregano was crumbled dried oregano from our garden. If using ground oregano from the store, use about 1 Tbsp. Add the cilantro. Whisk in the vinegar and lime juice. Then slowly whisk in the oil to emulsify it like you would a vinaigrette.

Pour over the steak and pepper pieces in a zip top back, coat well and marinate it for at least 1 hour.

After the marinating time, assemble the kebabs alternating pepper and steak with 4-5 pieces of steak on each kebab.

While that is preheating, start your rice. Basically cook it according to package directions using the rice, water and salt. This should take about 18-20 minutes.

Once you have the rice started and covered, start your grill set up for direct heat at 450f.

Whisk together the cilantro, lime juice, garlic, and oil. Just as the rice is finished, mix in the cilantro mixture and cook another 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and leave covered while you cook the kebabs.

Place the kebabs on the grill and cook them for 1 minute per side (assuming 4 sides). Here's the trick I figured out, since one minute per side can mean two different things. First, always work in order that the kebabs were put on the grill. Work left to right or front to back, but the first kebab on should be the first one turned and the first one off.

If you want them cooked medium, then re-start your 1 minute timer each time you FINISH placing or turning the last kebab on the grill. That means each side is actually getting 1:15 to 1:20 per side including the turning time.

If you want them cooked medium-rare, then re-start your 1 minute timer each time you START turning the first kebab on the grill. That means each side is really only getting 1 minute per side.

Plate two kebabs on a plate of the rice.

These two dishes came together perfectly, in our opinion. The peppers had just the right amount of charring and the bold chimichurri flavors danced all over my taste buds, leaving no doubt that Argentina knows how to "do beef". The rice is good because it brings it's own character and isn't just a boring afterthought.

August Giveaway: If you haven't already done so, make sure you enter for a chance to win a 30" Masterbuilt Electric Digital Smoker.