Chimichurri A Salsa? A Relish? Spanish Tapas Style Recipes

Chimichurri. What exactly is it? A salsa? A relish? I only discovered this delicious, Spanish influenced recipe a few years ago. My first attempts at preparing chimichurri were nothing to blog about, ha ha!! Throw it all in the blender and done! For me, to really appreciate the flavors of a chimichurri, one should take the time to finely chop the ingredients by hand. I find the whole process quite relaxing as each ingredient gets added to the bowl. I just want to put it out there that I am no authority on Spanish foods. I am just eager to learn some basics so that I may enjoy them at home. The whole idea of serving a tapas style dinner (small plates of food) for dinner parties or special occasions is such a great idea and so much fun. I have prepared several dinners with this same theme for friends several times. I try to mix up the menu by preparing some Mexican, Spanish and Asian dishes all in one night. Many of the recipes I choose can usually be prepared ahead and then I just warm them the night of the dinner. I am able to spend more time enjoying the company of my friends this way.  For the first entry I wanted to start with a few chimichurri recipes I have prepared in the past year. I will add more recipes as they develop and post some from my past tapas style dinner parties. Small plates of food. Genius idea!

Chimichurri that was all finely chopped by hand, served over a beef and potato stuffed empanada
Chimichurri that was all finely chopped by hand, served over a beef and potato stuffed empanada


1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/3 cup red bell pepper, diced small
2 green onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
3 to 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1/2 tablespoon dried sweet basil
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

 

Finely chopped chimichurri, delicious! Finely chopped chimichurri the next day, fantastic!
Finely chopped chimichurri, delicious! Finely chopped chimichurri the next day, fantastic!

 

Directions

1. Finely chop and dice all of the ingredients by hand or pulse in the food processor. Add in the olive oil and season to taste with salt ans pepper. Cover and let stand for at least one hour before serving. Will taste much better, the longer it sits.

2. Serve sauce over any grilled meats or seafood. I love serving it with savory empanadas. Makes about 2 cups. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Next day chimichurri over beef picadillo and potato stuffed empanadas.
Next day chimichurri over beef picadillo and potato stuffed empanadas.

 

 Smoky Chipotle Chimichurri 

Smoky Chipotle Chimichurri over a chicken paella stuffed empanada
Smoky Chipotle Chimichurri over a chicken paella stuffed empanada


½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
½ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
½ cup sweet yellow pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeño, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon chipotle flakes or  chipotle in adobo, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

½ teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste

Prepping for smoky chipotle chimichurri...chipotle was not added when I took the picture.
Prepping for smoky chipotle chimichurri…chipotle was not added when I took the picture.

 

Combine all of the ingredients. Stir well to combine, taste for salt. Cover and chill over night or at least a few hours before serving.

Smoky Chipotle Chimichurri over an empanada stuffed with chicken paella
Smoky Chipotle Chimichurri over an empanada stuffed with chicken paella

 

Tomato Basil Bruschetta with Lemon Vinaigrette & Grilled Mushrooms

Tomato Basil Bruschetta with Lemon Vinaigrette & Grilled Mushroom, one of our favorite fresh foods to enjoy during the summer. On a typical day, I would have picked most of the ingredients from my own garden, but I am just planting this week. The basil plants were so aromatic, that is what inspired me to prepare this recipe. I only picked a few leaves from each plant, lol!  My husband and I love any fresh bruschetta simply served over toasted crostini bread slices. Now and then I will fold in some cooked pasta with  grilled shrimp or chicken for a delicious hearty meal. Here’s to a great summer filled with fresh produce and lazy summer nights! Oh, and cool drinks, can’t forget those!

Grilled Mushrooms Combined with my Favorite Tomato Basil Bruschetta and Dressed with Lemon Vinaigrette
Grilled Mushrooms Combined with my Favorite Tomato Basil Bruschetta and Dressed with Lemon Vinaigrette


8 ounces steak mushrooms, grilled and sliced
1 pint tri color grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced thin
10 to 12 kalamamta olives, sliced
5 queen green olives, sliced
Zest and juice of 1small lemon
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Fresh cracked pepper to taste
Salt to taste

 

Melted Mozzarella on Crostini with Tomato Basil Bruschetta, Lemon Vinaigrette & Grilled Mushrooms
Melted Mozzarella on Crostini with Tomato Basil Bruschetta, Lemon Vinaigrette & Grilled Mushrooms


Combine all of the vegetables. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon zest, juice, vinegar, olive oil and all of the dried spices together. Taste for salt and pepper. Pour over vegetables, stir well to combine. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes before serving. Serve with toasted crostini bread slices. Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer.

 

Grilled Steak Mushrooms, Seasoned with Salt, Pepper and Chile Flakes
Grilled Steak Mushrooms, Seasoned with Salt, Pepper and Chile Flakes


Tips~ Toss mushrooms with olive oil and grill on stove top grill pan at medium heat, turning as needed. Season lightly with salt,fresh cracked pepper and red pepper flakes during the last few minutes of cooking time.

Tomato Basil Bruschetta with Lemon Vinaigrette & Grilled Mushrooms
Tomato Basil Bruschetta with Lemon Vinaigrette & Grilled Mushrooms

 

We plant all of our herbs and peppers in pots. Front porch gardening.
We plant all of our herbs and peppers in pots. Front porch gardening.

Pepper Steak with Black Beans & Rice

Pepper Steak with  Black Beans & Rice. Stir fry dishes are an inexpensive way to feed a family of 4 or more. This recipe does not require alot of beef once all the peppers and onion is added in. Another great recipe I have been enjoying is the parboiled brown rice. I have been using it in all of my rice dishes and I am not missing the white rice much these days. Besides my light version of refried black beans, I love adding black beans to my rice dishes. I could literally just have the black beans and rice everyday garnished with chile slices and lime! Not only is this great to serve as is, you could chop it after cooking and serve it as a filling for burritos or tacos. Not crazy about beef, this recipe is just as delicious with thinly sliced chicken or large shrimp.

Pepper Steak with Black Beans & Rice
Pepper Steak with Black Beans & Rice


For Meat
1 pound bottom round beef, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dry rub or 1/4 teaspoon five spice
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon

 

Always prep ahead, especially when it comes to stir fry
Always prep ahead, especially when it comes to stir fry

 

For Rice 
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste
1 cup parboiled brown rice
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 to 1/3 cup green onions
1/4 to 1/3 cup cilantro
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed

 

Parboiled brown (yellow) rice & beans.
Parboiled brown (yellow) rice & beans.

 

For Stir Fry
grapeseed or canola oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
1 medium sweet onion, sliced into strips
1 poblano, sliced into strips
1 Anaheim, sliced into rings
1 red bell, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 jalapeño, sliced in half
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon tamari
2 tablespoons water 

 

I am just as excited to photograph the prepped ingredients as the final product!
I am just as excited to photograph the prepped ingredients as the final product!

 

1. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients to marinate the beef. Taste for salt then pour over beef. Stir well to coat evenly, cover and chill for a few hours or overnight.

2. For rice, in a saucepan, add 2 cups chicken broth, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, pepper and salt. Bring to a boil, add rice and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 22 to 25 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork, add black beans, cilantro, green onions and lime juice. 

3. Once marinated, preheat 3 tablespoons of grapeseed or canola oil to medium/high heat for 5 minutes. Brown the beef in batches until seared nicely. Do not overcrowd the pan or the meat will just steam. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely.

4. To that same pan, add 1 more tablespoon of oil and bring back up to medium/high heat for a few minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with water and tamari until smooth, set aside.

5. To the hot pan, add the vegetables in the order listed, stirring quickly as you add them. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook until sauce begins to thicken. Add the beef back in and cook just until warm. Remove from heat. Serve over rice. Yields 4  servings.