The famous cowboys (gauchos) from Argentina have a very balanced spice herb pesto-like sauce. They call it chimichurri and it has components that strike a note on all aspects of flavor. Richness comes from the virgin olive oil, acid from the vinegar and citrus, spice from the chilies, garlic and pepper along with a touch of refreshing sweetness from the herbs and scallions.
Team this with the smoky char from grass-fed Argentinean beef—or better yet, with elk—and you have a symphony of sensations. Here is the Rocky Mountain version of that flavorful dish.
2 jalapenos, seeds and stems removed
1 tbsp toasted cumin seeds, ground fine
1/4 cup sherry or red wine vinegar
1 cup virgin olive oil
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch fresh oregano (or 1 heaping tbsp dried)
2 lemons or limes (to be added to sauce just before use)
Traditional recipes call for lemon, but I think the milder lime works better with our sweet elk meat. Place everything but the herbs and limes in a food processor and blend until smooth. Rough chop the herbs and add them to the blended ingredients. Briefly pulse the herbs into that mixture. The sauce should be coarse and have a “bite”—not smooth.
The chimichurri sauce should be made the day before you’re going to use it. This allows the flavors to marry. Just before serving, grate the lime zest and squeeze the juice into the sauce. This blast of fresh acid will make the sauce pop with flavor.
This sauce is incredibly versatile and will quickly become a staple in your fridge.
Elk Kabob Ingredients
2 tbsp minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper (or your favorite dry rub)
Be sure the meat has properly dry-aged and remove all silver skin.
Toss the cubed meat and veggie garnishes with the garlic, oil and seasoning. Allow to sit for a couple of hours or overnight. Cut the garnishes the same size as the meat and arrange them with the meat on long metal skewers.
These kabobs should be cooked hot and fast over an open fire. Char the outside of the meat, remove them from the fire and allow to sit for at least five minutes. This allows the internal moisture to re-distribute back throughout the pieces of meat. During the five minutes, the meat will continue to slowly cook to a perfect medium rare. This is a very critical concept, especially with our lean cuts of game meat.
This is the perfect summer party food. All the labor is up front so all you have to do when your guests arrive is crack a beer and throw the skewers on the fire. Serve your kabobs splashed with the refreshing, flavorful chimichurri sauce.