Summertime in South and Central America is the time for churrasco (shoo-HAAS-koh). This highly seasoned grilled meat, first made by Brazilian gauchos in the 15th century, is now popular throughout the region. The most famous churrascos hail from Brazil, where thick and abundantly marbled steaks called picanha are served directly from giant spits.
Cuts of beef for churrasco vary, as do the myriad toppings that transform simple steaks into unforgettable meals. Argentina’s bife de chorizo (boneless, thick, sirloin strip steaks) are dressed with a vibrant parsley sauce called chimichurri. In Guatemala, thick lomito filets cut from the tenderloin are draped in a roasted tomato sauce called chirmol. In Nicaragua, the tenderloin is cut thinly, jelly-roll style, basted with chimichurri, and served with fried plantains and with a rice and bean mélange called gallo pinto. Give your steaks new life this season with these zesty flavors.
By Sandra Gutierrez, a food writer in Cary, N.C.