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Argentina: perfect steak & red wine

Argentina: perfect steak & red wine

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My first recollection of Argentina was in 1978, beamed via my parent’s television. It was a strange, exotic country measuring the size of a small field that appeared to be ruled by a sullen man in a raincoat, who constantly had a cigarette hanging from his mouth. He governed over a small group of men who wore the national dress of blue and white striped shirts and tight black shorts. In absence of any visible women, some of the men had grown long hair and ran around their country in wonderful dancing patterns, while trying to avoid invading groups of men from stealing their round white treasure.

The weather patterns were odd too – it looked hot and sultry, yet white papery snow fell almost constantly from the skies and settled on the ground, particularly when one of the men with long hair deposited the treasure in netted vaults at each end of the country. This person was called Mario Kempes who, after making the most deposits during each invasion, was given the ultimate treasure of a gold statue of the world. As a very young boy Argentina looked magical.

Now that I am considerably older I have mixed feelings about the Argentinian football team. However, they continue to have a hold on me. I have forgiven Ricky Villa for scoring THAT goal against my beloved City, and how they managed to convince the referee that Sol Campbell’s’ headed goal in injury time didn’t count.

Even Maradona’s Hand of God cannot wipe away my deep affection for Argentina, because they have given us the greatest strike force pairing in the world – asado and malbec.

Asado is the Argentinian national dish, as well as the term for a range of cooking techniques using grills, barbecues and open fire pits. The main ingredient cooked on asado is beef, and traditionally it’s a communal gathering where several different cuts of beef are cooked –starting with the lowly cuts such as offal, black puddings and sweet breads, then working up to the prime steaks.

An asado can take several compositions, the larger ones starting with a fire on the ground or in a fire pit using logs for fuel. Large cuts of meat (sometimes whole carcasses) are placed on metal racks that look like mantraps and medieval torture devices called “asadores” placed at various angles and distances from the fire. The attitude of the cooking is relaxed and informal, where everyone chips in now and again with adjustments to the fire and asadores. Smaller ones are cooked on a “parrilla”, which is a grill similar to a standard barbecue, or a cast-iron plate called a “chapa”, with charcoal used to create the heat.

The meat is held in such high regard that typically it is only seasoned with salt, and no marinades are used. The only way to make the meat taste different is to change the amount of charring, and this is managed by controlling the distance of the meat from the heat. Argentinians prefer a slower cooking rate and in some cases avoid dripping fat onto the burning coals by clearing a space directly under the cooking steak – that way the smoke created doesn’t affect the natural flavour of the meat. Although the majority of asadores are solely meat orientated, vegetables such as potatoes, peppers and aubergine are cooked in the ash embers of the fire too.

Should you want to attempt your own version of cooking steak asado, there is no great mystery to cooking with fire – it is one of the most basic methods of creating something edible from a raw state. I think everyone taps into that primeval urge to make fire, but there are a few simple rules that should be followed in order to move the results towards culinary and away from Palaeolithic.

The fuel for a good barbecue should be a considered choice. I like to use pure charcoal made from hardwood logs which have been heated to a high temperature in an environment of low oxygen. This stops the logs from burning too much but dries out all the sap and moisture from resins so that all is left is a carbonised lump of charcoal. They are easy to light and burn evenly over a long time. The secret to a perfect steak is to use well-aged, grass-fed boneless steaks such as rib-eye, which you cook on a lower heat for longer periods to get a well seared crust and maximum juiciness. Your steak should never be directly placed in contact with the naked flame as this leads to burning as opposed to charring. Let it sit on the griddle without too much flipping and intervention – and don’t wear tiny tight shorts to the barbecue – they looked cool in 1978 but let’s leave it there.

Finally to the Malbec, with its deep-red rounded spicy liquid magic. Just pour it into a glass and savour the winning combination with the meat. It just works. It is the equivalent of having Tevez and Aguero in your squad – you just wouldn’t leave one of them on the subs bench. However, don’t over indulge because it might get Messi.

For more countries from Jamie’s Foodie World Cup, click here.

Header image by Robert S Donovan; asado picture by Patrick McFall.

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Perfect Pairings: 5 Best Wines to Drink With Steak

Whether you’re sinking your teeth into an inch-thick ribeye or a sizzling skirt steak, you want a wine that’ll both stand up to and complement the umami-rich character of beef. Some wines pair well with pretty much any style of steak, but others are better suited to leaner or fattier cuts.

“For a fatty cut of beef, I would recommend a wine with good acidity, structure, and texture to clean the fattiness from the mouth,” says Sebastian Zuccardi, owner of Argentina’s Zuccardi Valle de Uco winery.

Zuccardi was recently named one of the top 10 winemakers of South America. And as an Argentinian, he knows his beef.

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For leaner cuts, he suggests a bigger, bolder wine. “I would pick a wine with good volume, and one that’s concentrated enough to take up your entire mouth with flavor,” he says. You also want a wine with good fruitiness and a little less acidity—but nothing too sweet, he adds.

Whether you’re looking to save or splurge, these picks will elevate your next steak dinner. While most are available at big local or online retailers, some are more exclusive bottlings available only through their wineries or select wine outlets.

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What Wine Goes With Steak?


Zinfandel has moderate tannin levels and high acidity. It's perfect for any steak with a moderate amount of fat such as Porterhouse, Rib Eye, and T-bone.

Zinfandel has a bold grape flavor and is rich enough that makes it a great pair for tough cuts of meats. An example of tough cuts of meat that goes well with this wine is Tri-tip and London Broil cuts.


This wine is known for its soft tannin and low acid levels. The wine originated in Bordeaux, where wine-growing is famous. Even though this has low acid and tannin content, this still makes a good pair with your Steak.

Merlot wine is able to complement the fats in tough meats. The fruity flavor of this wine brings out the savory, rich flavor of Steak.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon goes well with marbled steaks. This wine contains high levels of alcohol and tannins. It gives balance for the savory taste of the Steak while also giving the fruity taste of the wine.

Meats such as fish, chicken, and turkey are not suitable for pairing with this wine as the wine's texture is too strong for the meat to compensate. It results in too much wine flavor that you cannot taste the umami flavor of the meat.


This wine is great with a variety of steaks. With a fruity and peppery flavor, it nicely complements the bold flavor of steaks. Shiraz has a balanced level of tannin and acidity that goes perfectly with fine marbled steaks.

Steaks such as New York Strip, Prime Rib, and Peppered Ribeye are examples that complement this well-balanced wine.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a medium-bodied and light wine that has a low amount of tannin. It has high levels of acidity that balances the bold flavors of Steak.

The most popular reason why this wine is loved for pairing with steaks is that it's versatile, subtle, and food-friendly. It can go well with almost any main course. The undertone of spices and fruity flavor of this wine pairs evenly with steaks.

Steaks that are low in fat are perfect for this wine, such as prime ribs and filet mignon.


Malbec is a wine that is also popular with Steak. It's very popular in Argentina, where it's common to see when people order Steak. Argentinians love this wine for their steaks as it is food-friendly, rich, versatile, and quite affordable.

White Wine

A popular wine choice when pairing it with steaks is Red Wine.

Almost all people go for Red Wine when they want a perfect drink that goes well with their Steak.

White wines do not commonly go well with steaks. It doesn't complement the rich, savory, and umami flavor of steaks.

Picking the right white wine would make the pairing much better since white wines are often light, you should pick one that's full-bodied to complement your Steak.

An example of white wine that goes well with Steak is German Riesling.

This white wine is rich and has a level of crispness that cuts through the beefiness of Steak.

This is an example of you not always having to follow wine-pairing rules, and if you want to try something different when looking for something new, that goes well with steaks.

Argentinian Chimichurri Ingredients

  • PARSLEY – Some recipes will call for both parsley and cilantro, but authentic chimichurri does not have cilantro in it!
  • OREGANO – Fresh or dried.
  • CHILI PEPPERS – I use 1-2 red chili peppers, but you can use a tablespoon of aji molido or a teaspoon of red pepper flakes instead.
  • GARLIC – Chimichurri is a pretty garlicky condiment, so I use 4 cloves. You can use less if you prefer a subtler garlic flavor.
  • VINEGAR – Red wine vinegar is what it is traditionally used, but you can use white wine or apple cider vinegar if that’s what you have on hand!
  • LIME – I like to add a touch of lime because it pairs great with the herbs and brightens the sauce. You can omit if you prefer!
  • OIL – I use sunflower oil, but you can use any other mild tasting oils (like canola) or even olive oil instead.
  • SALT AND PEPPER – I recommend starting with just a pinch and adding more to taste at the end.

Fresh or Dried Herbs?

While I prefer to use fresh herbs, you can definitely use dried herbs instead.

In fact, since chimichurri became popular due to gauchos using it to flavor meat cooked over open fires, chances are that it was traditionally made with dried herbs, as fresh herbs would spoil.

However, if using dried herbs, I recommend adding about 1/4 cup of warm water to the sauce to hydrate them.

Red wine recipes

Add red wine to casseroles, steaks and sauces and you'll be rewarded with a deliciously rich flavour. See our range of top-rated red wine recipes.

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For the steak:

Remove steaks from the refrigerator and let rest to come to room temperature. Pat them dry with paper towels.

Season the steaks liberally with kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper on all sides and press into meat. Let seasoned meat rest for approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Place a skillet (large enough to fit both steaks comfortably) over high heat.

When pan is extremely hot, pour in approximately 2 to 3 tablespoons of canola oil and shake pan to make sure entire bottom of skillet is coated.

When oil begins to smoke slightly, using tongs, carefully lay the steaks into the pan, laying them down away from you (this will avoid oil spatters).

Press down slightly on meat. Let steak sear, without moving it, for roughly 2 minutes until a golden brown crust develops, then drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil into the pan. The crust will form and then detach from the bottom of the pan.

Using tongs, carefully flip steak and let cook for another two minutes. Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil on and around the meat.

After the crust has formed, set both of the steaks on the fat strip that runs along the side of the sirloin. You can set them side-by-side against the edge of the pan if it has a high enough edge, or hold them on their ends using the tongs. Render off this fat for roughly 60-90 seconds. Tilt the pan towards the steaks so the oil and hot fat will continue to baste and cook the meat. Then set steaks down flat, side by side in pan.

Add the smashed garlic cloves and approximately 1½-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Tilt pan to make sure the oil touches all of the meat. Add rosemary and thyme. You can again add an additional drizzle of olive oil.

Add butter to the pan, a few chunks at a time, placing them on either side of the steaks, above them, between them and below. As the butter begins to melt, bubble and brown, give the pan a swirl, tilting slightly towards you so that all of the melted butter and juice collects towards you in the skillet.

Using a spoon, thoroughly baste the steak with the butter and juices at the bottom of the pan. Carefully flip the steaks and repeat, basting frequently.

While basting, using tongs, periodically brush the steaks with the herbs and garlic from the pan. The steaks can then be basted with the herbs and garlic on top. Flip the steaks and repeat, brushing the surface with garlic and herbs and basting over them (during the basting process, continually check the surface tension of the meat to check the doneness. Use the palm of your hand as a gauge: soft part of the thumb is rare, moving towards the finger is medium-rare and well done is down by your wrist.)

When a crust has formed, and you have a soft texture with a little bit of resistance, ideally medium-rare, turn off the heat, and remove the steaks from the skillet, placing them on a cutting board.

Place fried herbs and garlic on top of steak, drizzle steaks with pan drippings and cover loosely with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes. (A good estimate for how long to rest your steaks is half the time you spent cooking.)

For the pan sauce:

Using the pan in which the steaks were cooked earlier, pour off all but 2 teaspoons of fat and the flavorful browned bits adhering to the bottom, and place over medium-high heat.

Using a wooden spatula, scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and, stirring constantly, add finely chopped shallots and garlic.

Add 1 cup of red wine and keep stirring and reducing the sauce.

Continuing to stir, add beef stock (you can also use a quarter cup of beef stock and add whatever reserved steak juices you have).

Add the butter, reduce heat to medium and keep stirring so the butter does not break.

Slice the steaks against the grain and serve with pan sauce drizzled over the meat or on the side.

What happens when you cook wine?

When wine is heated, most of the alcohol evaporates within a few minutes. The longer it cooks, the more the alcohol cooks out of the dish. If you are worried about serving a dish with alcohol, you could simply adjust the temperature to low and allow the reduction to simmer longer. The sulfites in wine, which some people are allergic to, also evaporate on cooking. The single goal of using wine in cooking is to enhance the flavor of the dish with the concentrated flavor of the wine.

Easiest Way to Make Perfect Tender Beef Steak with Red Wine Sauce

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We hope you got insight from reading it, now let’s go back to tender beef steak with red wine sauce recipe. You can have tender beef steak with red wine sauce using 6 ingredients and 3 steps. Here is how you cook it.

The ingredients needed to cook Tender Beef Steak with Red Wine Sauce:

  1. Prepare 2 slice of Beef (for roasted beef).
  2. Take 1 of Salt and pepper.
  3. Use 1 clove of Garlic.
  4. Provide 5 grams of Butter.
  5. Get 50 ml of Red wine.
  6. Get 1 tsp of Soy sauce.

Instructions to make Tender Beef Steak with Red Wine Sauce:

  1. Hit the beef with the back of a knife to soften, adjust the shape, and season with salt and pepper. Slice the garlic..
  2. Heat the butter in a frying pan and sauté the garlic. When it becomes fragrant, add the beef and cook both sides well over high heat until golden brown..
  3. Add the red wine and soy sauce and simmer. Cover with a lid and cook until it is done as you like..

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How do I know my steak is done?

When we first were married, my husband and ruined many a steak. We couldn’t figure out how the steakhouses created such incredible steaks. Of course, the first mistake was choosing a high quality of meat, but then what?

Steak is often overcooked because you can’t easily tell if it is done by looking at it. It does get easier over time as you prepare and cook steaks more often. My husband can tell by the springiness of the cooked meat if it is medium rare or not, the doneness we prefer.

I like to be more exact, especially when cooking filet mignon. So I use a meat thermometer. When using a meat thermometer, you do not insert it from the top, but from the side of the steak.

Slide the probe from the side to the center of the steak for the most accurate reading. For rare you want an internal temperature of 125ºF, medium rare 130°F and medium 135°F.

Watch the video: Η τέλεια μπριζόλα. Yiannis Lucacos (May 2022).