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By Liz Caskey, cookbook author, wine expert and author of Eat Wine
El Chivito is one of the most renowned dishes in Uruguay, enjoyed year-round.
Uruguay’s most ubiquitous sandwich is found in every sandwich joint and is a much-loved fast food. Chivito literally means, “baby goat”; and this mile-high sandwich is topped with the works and more like a meal.
Creativity and variety are its hallmark with seared steak, bacon, cheese, and mayo as the base. From there, the toppings can range from fried egg to roasted peppers, relish, lettuce, tomato, onions, red beets, olives, mushrooms, pickles, and even Canadian ham. Chivito is commonly served as a sandwich but also is dished up as a platter.
Be sure to procure a tender steak. Slice it thin for quick cooking and easy chewing. This is a versatile recipes; just add your favorite toppings.
Yield: 4 sandwiches
4 ¼-pound steak fillets, ¼-inch thick
Salt and black pepper to season
1 tablespoon oil
4 slices ham (optional)
8 slices cooked bacon
½ pound grated mozzarella
4 large hamburger rolls, cut in half
½ cup roasted red pepper
4 lettuce leaves
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons mayo
1. Season steak with salt and pepper on both sides. In a fry pan, heat oil and sear steak until medium rare, about 2 minutes each side.
2. Heat broiler. Place steak on an oven sheet with ham (optional) and cooked bacon; cover with cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbling.
3. To serve, place steak with melted cheese and cooked bacon on bottom of bun. Top with roasted red peppers, lettuce, onion, tomato, and top of bun spread with mayo. Eat with a knife and fork.
Sear the Steak
• Season the meat with salt and pepper as far as 1 hour in advance. The extra time allows the flavors to permeate the meat.
• Bring the meat to room temperature before cooking. This shortens the cooking time.
• Heat the skillet or grill to hot. Sear without moving on one side to seal the juices. Flip, sear, and turn down to medium to finish.
• If the steak is not a tender cut, pounding it a little will help soften the tough fibers.
Layer and Melt Cheese
• If you would like to add ham, place it on top of the steak, then cover with bacon and cheese.
• Place steak 4 to 6 inches from the broiler. Don’t step away from the food, as it can get browned very quickly.
• You can also layer thin slices of cheese instead of grating.
• Use turkey bacon for a lower fat, healthier substitute.
Make It Easy
To get steak to an even thickness, place between plastic wrap or parchment paper. Pound from the center of the meat working towards the outer edges. Pound gently but firmly to desired thickness, about ¼ inch, to avoid tearing the meat.
Plated Chivito: Fry 2 slices bacon in a skillet. Sear onion until caramelized. Make room in pan and add ¼-inch-thick steak with a pinch of salt. Place slices of bacon, 2 slices mozzarella cheese on top; melt cheese. Using a clean fry pan, cook 1 fried egg. Add 2 slices fresh tomato to pan; char. Serve with steak on plate with bacon and mozzarella; top with tomato, fried egg, onion, and black pepper. Accompany with french fries.
Editor’s note: This recipe is from Liz’s book Knack South American Cooking, by Globe Pequot Press. To learn more about Liz’s culinary and wine tours in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, visit Caskey Culinary & Wine Experiences at www.lizcaskey.com.
Check out Hispanic Kitchen's interview with Liz
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