Pope Francis isn't Argentina's only amazing export: It's also fabulous for its culinary delights

Steak with Creamy Chimichurri Sauce,(Hellmann's)

Steak with Creamy Chimichurri Sauce,(Hellmann's)

Rita DeMontis, National Food Editor, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:20 AM ET

Soccer, tango....and now Jorge Bergoglio — Pope Francis.

Argentina is certainly leading the world with some of the most amazing exports. Considered one of the most visited countries in South America, this Latin American nation is considered a country of immigrants. From this great cauldron of foreign flavours you get a taste for Argentine cuisine, where the legendary "asada" — or Argentine barbecue gathering — is part of the country's social fabric, and where cooking beef is an art form. (Research shows Argetines are one of the largest group of consumers of red meat in the world.)

Yerba mate, served in its unique gourd vessel and silver straw, is considered the national beverage, and spicy chorizo sausage, heavenly-stuffed empanadas (savoury turnovers) are as mainstream as burgers and fries.

And let's not forget the role of the deliriously delightful caramel jam known as dulce de leche! Along with these traditional favourites, you'll certainly find pasta and pizza, and desserts to rival any haute Austrian bakery. Plus Argentina's wine list is one of the largest in the world. The reality is the flavours of Argentina are vibrant, delicious and can elevate any dish to awesome levels. A good things to feast on as the world celebrates the new pope.

Steak with Creamy Chimichurri Sauce

Steak and chimichurri go together like bread and butter in Argentina. Here's an adaptation of a recipe from Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise.

  • 2 cups (500ml) loosely packed flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. (30ml) chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. (30ml) white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. (5ml) lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. (1ml) red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1-1/2 lbs. (750ml) sirloin steak (3/4-inch- 2 cm), trimmed of fat

Pre-heat grill to medium heat. To prepare sauce, in food processor or blender, process parsley, onion and garlic for 30 seconds or until evenly chopped. Add mayonnaise, vinegar and red pepper flakes. Continue processing, scraping down sides, 30 seconds or until blended. Season, if desired, with salt and ground black pepper; set aside.

Season steak with salt and pepper. Grill or broil on medium-high heat, for 3 minutes per side for medium. Let steak rest for 5 minutes, then slice. Serve steak with Creamy Chimichurri Sauce.

Serves 6.

Patatas Bravas

A mainstay of Spanish tapas bars, it's also a regular on Argentine menus. Serve with spicy aoli dipping sauce. Recipe courtesy of Ronco (Ronco.com.)

  • 6 Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. (30ml) sweet smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. (15ml) chopped parsley  

Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Toss all ingredients together coating potatoes. Place potatoes on a baking sheet lined with heavy duty foil. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes until browned and crispy. Serves 4.

 

 

Spicy aoli dipping sauce

  • 1 cup (250ml) mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. (15ml) sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 clove minced garlic 
  • 1 Tbsp. (15ml) parsley
  • 1 tsp. (5ml) lemon juice
  • Salt/pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until very smooth. Serve immediately with potatoes.

 


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