The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Kids Make Burgers With Chimichurri Sauce

October 9th, 2009 · No Comments · Posted in Ethnic, kids

Burger, gaucho style

Burger, gaucho style

My food appreciation classes this week were visitng Argentina on their virtual world culinary tour, an occasion that calls for red meat. Hamburgers seemed like the thrifty choice, so as well as teaching the kids about the chimichurri sauce that Argentinians like to eat with their beef, we used this as an opportunity to talk about hamburger safety.

A recent report in the New York Times graphically illustrated the health issues with industrially processed meat. Not only can the contents of your burger come from many different sources in the meat supply chain, but too often the meat is not adequately tested for pathogens such as the potentially lethal e. coli bacteria. The lesson here is to purchase hamburger only from a source you trust. Grassfed beef from a local farmer would be best. Or perhaps you like to grind your own. We got our hamburger meat from Whole Foods, where it is prepared on the premises.

Secondly, for safety’s sake, hamburgers should be cooked all the way through, or to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Sadly, the days of happily ordering a medium-rare burger from a restaurant are a thing of the past.

To prepare our burgers, we placed 1 1/2 pounds of meat in a large mixing bowl and added 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, plus salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Mix well,then divide the meat into individual patties. We gave each kid a scoop so they could make their own. Place the patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook in a 400-degree oven until done, about 10 minutes. They will be lightly browned and stiff when poked with a finger.

Chimichurri is full of fresh vegetables

Chimichurri is full of fresh vegetables

While the burgers were cooking we made our chimichurri sauce. Everyone agrees that chimichurri is a mandatory accompaniment to meat in Argentina, but there does not appear to be universal agreement on how to make it. Traditionally, it falls somewhere between a pesto and a salsa in texture. Since we made ours by hand–with plastic knives, I might add–ours came out a little more like a salsa.

First, peel and seed a tomato, immersing it in boiling water for 20 seconds then plunging it into a bowl of cold water to loosen the skin. Chop the tomato fine. In a bowl mix this with 1/2 onion, chopped fine, 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine, two cloves garlic, minced, and the leaves from a small bunch of parsley, also chopped fine. Stir in 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon coarse salt, 1 teaspoon paprika and 1 teaspoon black pepper. You can also add a pinch of hot red pepper flakes if you like.

Now add 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 1/4 water. Stir everything together well. If you have time, let the sauce rest for 30 minutes before serving.

Spoon the finished chimichurri sauce over the burgers on individual plates and serve. As our kids discovered, you won’t need a bun. They wolfed these down like real gauchos.

For more great stories about how we are taking back our food system, check out Fight Back Friday.

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