By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards & Winery
Have you ever tried something that is so extraordinarily flavorful that you just can’t get enough of it? This is how I feel about McGrail wine… and chimichurri sauce. Accordingly, this pairing has a TON of flavor.
What Is Chimichurri?
Wondering what the heck chimichurri is? Basically, it’s an herb-based sauce made primarily using raw or uncooked ingredients. It can be red (chimichurri rojo) or green (chimichurrri verde), depending on what kind of herbs are used. It pretty much always contains garlic, parsley, oregano, and vinegar, but there are countless variations of this scrumptious sauce.
No one seems to be totally sure about chimichurri’s origin. Some believe it derived from the Basque region’s “tximitxurri” sauce, as the pronunciations are very similar, though the ingredients are not. Others think it was loosely based off of Sicily’s salmoriglio sauce, as both typically contain parsley, oregano, and garlic. Since the English always seemed to stick their head in everyone’s business back in the day, there are some people who insist it was called “Jimmy’s curry,” “Jimmy Curry,” or even “Jimmy McCurry,” after an English lad who joined in the fight for Argentina’s independence, and some who believe it was the result of an English prisoner asking for condiments to season his meat, after England’s attempt to invade Argentina failed. There are many myths as to where chimichurri sauce came from exactly, but at this point in its history, it is most commonly found in Argentine or Uruguayan cuisine.
A Jó Élet, “The Good Life”
“A jó élet” is a Hungarian phrase, which roughly translates to “the good life” in English. This bottle of estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon is aged for nearly 30 months in 100% brand new Hungarian oak barrels. These barrels are sourced from two different coopers, both of whom use tight grain oak from the Zempelén Forest. This wine demonstrates a classic Cabernet Sauvignon bouquet of dark cherry, cassis, and vanilla, but also offers the notes of baking spice and bold tannins that you would expect from a wine that has been aged for over two years in brand new Hungarian oak. The Good Life is rich and full-bodied with notes of leather, herbs, and white pepper, which makes this the perfect wine to pair with a chimichurri rib eye steak. When you pair this wine with this dish, there is no doubt you’re living the good life.
I hope you’re excited to try this recipe at home, because I seriously can’t wait to make this pairing again! This is probably my favorite food and wine pairing so far.
Cast-Iron Skillet Chimichurri Rib Eye with Fingerling Potatoes & Crimini Mushrooms Paired with 2016 A Jó Élet, “The Good Life,” Cabernet Sauvignon
Makes about 4 servings.
For the marinade:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ tbsp. minced garlic
- 2 lbs. rib eye steak (2 thick cuts of meat)
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the chimichurri sauce:
- 1 cup fresh parsley, stems removed, packed
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, stems removed, packed
- 1 tbsp. fresh oregano, stems removed, packed
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ medium onion, diced
- 1 tbsp. garlic
- 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp. orange juice
- 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- ¼ tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
For the sides:
- 2 small shallots, halved
- 6 whole garlic cloves
- 10 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms
- 1 lb. golden fingerling potatoes
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- Optional: fresh sprigs of rosemary and/or thyme
To marinate and season the rib eye:
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk all rib eye marinade ingredients together, except for the salt, pepper, and rib eye.
- Place the rib eye in a gallon-sized ziploc bag and add the marinade to the bag. Make sure the meat is completely covered by the marinade and place in the refrigerator for 3-6 hours, depending on how thick the meat is (longer if the meat is thicker).
- When ready to place the rib eye in the skillet, liberally season it with salt and pepper.
To make the chimichurri sauce:
- In a food processor, add all chimichurri sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Store chimichurri sauce leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last several days without browning.
To prepare the sides:
- In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of well-salted water to a boil.
- Add the fingerling potatoes and boil until soft, about 15 minutes.
- Strain the potatoes and set aside.
To cook the rib eye and sides:
- In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add garlic cloves and halved shallots. Cook until slightly browned.
- Add sliced crimini mushrooms. Cook mushrooms with the garlic and shallots, stirring occasionally, until they become soft.
- Using a spatula, move the mushrooms, garlic, and shallots to one side of the pan. Add the rib eye steaks and about half of the marinade in the ziploc bag. Add the fingerling potatoes over the mushrooms, garlic, and shallots, and stir, so they are evenly covered in marinade. Add the optional sprigs of rosemary or thyme.
- For medium-rare steak, cook the steaks for about six minutes on each side, flipping after about three minutes (twelve minutes total, four intervals of three minutes). Add about 3-5 minutes to total cooking time if you like your meat well done.
- Once cooked to desired done-ness, plate the steaks and vegetables. Spoon the chimichurri sauce over the steaks.
- Enjoy this flavorful plate with a glass of our 2016 A Jó Élet “The Good Life” Cabernet Sauvignon!
Please let us know if you end up making this pairing and if you have any feedback! We’d love to hear it.
Cheers and enjoy!