When people ask for a Brazilian, they subconsciously wince at the thought of it. The one I had didn’t hurt at all. In fact, it tasted very nice. I bought it from Raphael, who owns the stall Gaucho: Son of the Pampas, which sells Brazilian cuisine in Greenwich Market. Aside from those really awesome chocolate and cinnamon Churos (They’re traditionally Caramel), they sell steak and chicken marinated in Chimichurri. Chimichurri is a South American sauce made of parsley, Olive oil, garlic and herbs. Of course, there are regional variations. You could easily imagine that a Guyanese version (or near the French Border), for instance, is made with herb instead of ordinary herbs for a more transcendental culinary experience.
They sell pretty well, but what proportion chicken and steak do they sell? Raphael said that “We sell fifty fifty.” Appropriately, although the beef is rib-eye stake from Argentina, the chicken comes from brazil, the sauce is made locally. The girl who served me said that “we make it (Chimichurri) here a little differently to what they do in South America.” So this is a London variation.
What did I think of the London version, you ask? It’s not hot, but it’s a more European flavour of Garlic and Olive oil, with a hint of lemon. It’s not what I expected, but then it’s more subtle and complex than just having heat like in Mexican or some Indian food. The herbs contribute to this by providing a contrast to both the meat and the garlic, with the lemon adding the right amount of acidity to the proceedings. I really enjoyed it, but it didn’t bring me to the point of culinary hallucination (wrong herb perhaps?). I didn’t see Jah, but I could imagine this as a marinade for anything that requires complex flavours like prawns, other seafood and even cornflakes after twenty pints and a hangover.
If this is a Brazilian without wax, then this is also one without tears of pain but plenty of culinary delight.
Try it yourself...
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1 clove garlic
2 minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced basil, thyme or oregano, or mixture
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and let set for at least 2 hours before serving.