Churrasco Nicaragüense: Marinated Grilled Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Churrasco Nicaragüense: Marinated Grilled Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
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About This Recipe

Experience the flavors of Nicaragua with our Churrasco Nicaragüense recipe: Marinated Grilled Steak with Chimichurri Sauce - a taste sensation awaits!"Nestled among the picturesque rolling hills of Northern California, Napa Valley is celebrated worldwide for its exquisite wines. But it’s also a melting pot of culinary influences, seamlessly integrating global flavors with local ingredients and traditions. Enter the Churrasco Nicaragüense - a marinated grilled steak dish hailing from the vibrant streets of Nicaragua, which, when paired with the right wine, can elevate any dining experience in Napa or Sonoma to pure magic.

Churrasco Nicaragüense is a cherished recipe in Nicaraguan culture, often reserved for special occasions and family gatherings. Central to this dish is the steak, typically a skirt or flank cut, marinated in a zesty blend of citrus juices, garlic, spices, and in our Napa twist - a touch of local red wine. But what truly sets it apart is the accompanying chimichurri sauce, a fresh, herbaceous concoction of parsley, garlic, chili peppers, and lime zest.

But how did this Central American classic find its place in the heart of California wine country? The answer lies in the shared spirit of celebrating good food, wine, and company. And as Napa and Sonoma have grown as culinary destinations, local chefs, home cooks, and even tourists continually seek ways to infuse international dishes with the essence of wine country.

Now, any discussion about this steak wouldn’t be complete without touching upon its perfect wine accompaniments. With a dish as multifaceted as the Churrasco Nicaragüense, the wine pairing possibilities are vast. A safe bet is always a robust Cabernet Sauvignon, such as the one produced by Silver Oak in Napa Valley. This wine’s full-bodied nature complements the steak’s bold flavors, allowing them to shine without overshadowing the chimichurri.

For a more classic approach, consider a Malbec. Known for its plump, dark fruit flavors with a smoky finish, it contrasts the zesty chimichurri while harmonizing with the steak’s char. Paul Hobbs Winery in Sonoma offers a Malbec that's a delightful match.

But if you're looking for an adventurous wine pairing, a Tempranillo could be your pick. With flavors of plum, berries, leather, and tobacco, it counterbalances the steak and chimichurri’s vibrant flavors. An excellent choice is available at Artesa Vineyards & Winery in Napa Valley.

Integrating the Churrasco Nicaragüense into a full-fledged menu offers endless opportunities. Start with a light salad featuring fresh Napa Valley produce, like arugula or heirloom tomatoes. Follow the steak with a side of roasted seasonal vegetables and perhaps a Sonoma-inspired risotto. And for dessert? A citrus panna cotta or a wine-infused sorbet would wrap up the meal beautifully, echoing the steak’s marinade flavors.

Visiting Napa or Sonoma? Consider exploring local farmer’s markets such as Oxbow Public Market to source ingredients. You’ll not only find premium-quality produce but also get a true taste of the community spirit. And for those keen on delving deeper into wine pairings, many wineries, like Ridge Vineyards in Sonoma, offer tasting experiences explicitly designed around food and wine harmony.

In conclusion, the marriage of Churrasco Nicaragüense and the wines of Napa and Sonoma is a testament to the power of culinary fusion. This pairing celebrates the heart of Nicaraguan culture, the soul of California wine country, and the joy of discovery. Whether you’re a visitor or a local, embracing this dish and its wine companions will undoubtedly enrich your understanding and love for the vibrant tapestry that is Northern California’s culinary scene.

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Chimichurri

Chimichurri is the heartbeat of Churrasco Nicaragüense, bringing its own blend of zesty, herby magic to the table. Originating from South America, this green sauce is a delightful mix of parsley, garlic, vinegar, chili peppers, and olive oil. It's not just a companion to grilled meats but a versatile sauce that can elevate various dishes. Rich in fresh herbs, chimichurri not only enhances flavor but offers health benefits too, being packed with antioxidants and vitamins.

How to Achieve Perfect Grill Marks on Your Steak

Grill marks aren't just for aesthetics; they provide a beautiful charred flavor that’s quintessential to the Churrasco Nicaragüense experience. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Preheat Your Grill: Whether you're using a charcoal or gas grill, ensure it's hot enough. Aim for a temperature of 450°F to 500°F.
  2. Clean and Oil: Use a grill brush to clean the grates. After cleaning, use tongs to rub an oil-soaked paper towel over the grates. This ensures the steak doesn't stick and gives cleaner grill marks.
  3. Position Your Steak: Lay your steak at a 45° angle to the grill grates. This angle gives those desired diamond grill marks.
  4. Rotate, Don't Flip: After a few minutes, rotate the steak 90° without flipping. This will create a crosshatch pattern.
  5. Flip and Repeat: Once you have your grill marks on one side, flip the steak and repeat on the other side.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can I use another cut of beef for Churrasco Nicaragüense? Absolutely! While skirt or flank steak are traditional, feel free to use ribeye, sirloin, or even filet mignon. Adjust cooking times based on thickness.
  2. I'm allergic to chili. What can I use in the chimichurri sauce instead? If chili is an issue, you can omit it or substitute with bell peppers for color and a milder flavor.
  3. How can I store leftover chimichurri sauce? Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. The olive oil might solidify, but it will liquefy once it reaches room temperature.
  4. Can I use a different herb instead of parsley in the chimichurri? Yes! While parsley is traditional, cilantro or even fresh oregano can be used for a unique twist.
  5. Do I need any special tools for grilling the steak? A good set of tongs and a reliable meat thermometer are recommended. They help ensure safe handling and perfect doneness.

Tips for Success

  1. Marinate for Maximum Flavor: While a quick marinade can impart flavor, letting the steak marinate for a few hours or overnight ensures the meat is tender and flavorful throughout.
  2. Room Temperature Steak: Always allow the steak to come to room temperature before grilling. It promotes even cooking and ensures a juicier result.
  3. Rest Before Serving: After grilling, let the steak rest for about 5-10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring every bite is moist and delicious.

Recipe Overview

Churrasco Nicaragüense: Marinated Grilled Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


For the Steak Marinade:

  • 2 lbs skirt steak or flank steak
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup red wine (preferably from Napa Valley)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Chimichurri Sauce:

  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 red chili pepper, finely chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Zest of 1 lime

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Marinate the Steak: In a large bowl, combine garlic, orange juice, lime juice, red wine, olive oil, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add the steak, ensuring it’s fully coated with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Prepare the Chimichurri: In a bowl, combine parsley, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, chili pepper, lime zest, salt, and pepper. Mix well and set aside for flavors to meld.
  3. Grill the Steak: Preheat your grill on high heat. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry. Grill the steak for about 3-4 minutes on each side for medium-rare, or until desired doneness.
  4. Rest and Serve: Allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes before slicing against the grain. Serve with the chimichurri sauce drizzled on top or on the side.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

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