In this episode of EAT THE WORLD, where I attempt to cook and eat a meal from every single country in the world, I cooked up Uruguay's national dish of Chivito. Chivito is a simple, but incredibly enjoyable delicious steak sandwich, perfect and easy to make. Seriously, this just knocked Canada off the top spot! But before we delve into this mouth-watering national dish of Uruguay and its accompanying recipe, let's discuss my history and view of Uruguay. I also apologize for the fact that I lost all my pictures of this meal and only have these poor quality ones!
From the start, I need to apologize to every single Uruguayan out there. Since 2010, I have held somewhat of an intense dislike (hatred) for anything to do with Uruguay. I know, so not appropriate for a travel blogger and world citizen. But, you see, at the time, I felt this was well-justified. In 2010, South Africa hosted the FIFA World Cup, and South Africa drew Uruguay. I had tickets for this game, and while I knew we would probably lose the game, I never believed it would play out quite as it did. Any South African, possibly African for that matter, understands my vehemence for the Uruguayan soccer team and Louis Suárez. Truthfully it started with Deigo Forlan, a player for Man United, my football club. This man while able to score for United was always falling over and was dubbed "Falling over" whenever he was on the pitch by my father and myself. This jerk scored a goal against us in South Africa's group stages. While I don't remember the full details now, it's all an angry red haze, Uruguay got our great goalkeeper sent off in our group game. It effectively brought our world cup dreams to an end, despite a win over France in the following match - a game that my sister, who does not give a stuff about football, got to see and I did not. Furthermore, Suárez then CRASHED Africa's dream Ghana team's chances of world cup glory when he HANDED the ball out of the net. I mean. REALLY! With this man's further antics on the field, I see no reason to explain further why Uruguay was probably my least favorite country in the world.
Fast track to four years later, in Bushwick, Brooklyn, I met an Uruguayan on a graffiti tour. He seemed quite nice, but because he was from my least favorite country in the world, I was like stay away from me. Until of course, he found me stranded in the subway station with a metrocard that did not have enough money to take me back to Manhattan, nor a working machine, and the nearest subway over 2 miles away. Mr. Uruguayan swiped me through with his SPARE metro card and practically saved the day. At this point, Bushwick was only just beginning its gentrification process, and it did not seem like a safe area at all. This man got me out of a tight spot, as there were no taxis in sight and Uber had yet to come into existence. We stood chatting on the subway, and he instantly changed my opinion and vehemence of Uruguay. He was friendly, kind and lovely - unlike his football counterpart! So, from that moment on I decided to reverse my opinion on anything Uruguay.
Fast forward to 2017, and the CHIVITO! Ok Uruguay, now you may just be the very best country in the world (except for your football team)!
Recipe for Chivito, Uruguay's National Dish
- 2 beef tenderloin, small 100g size
- 1 clove garlic finely sliced
- black pepper
- smoked paprika
- 2 slices bacon
- 1 brown onion large, sliced into thin rings
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced lengthways into 1 inch
- 2 slices cheese
- 2 round rolls
- 1/4 cup chimichurri sauce or pesto or mayonnaise
- lettuce leaves
- 1 tomato thinly sliced
- 2 eggs hard-boiled, sliced
serves 2 people
- Preheat the broiler on high.
- Pound the steaks until they are approximately 1/4 inch thick. Press the garlic onto both sides of the steak and season lightly with salt, black pepper and paprika.
- Cook the bacon over a medium-high heat to your desire and place to the side.
- Cook the onion for 5 minutes, and add some salt to taste. Place to the side.
- Place the red bell pepper in the broiler and grill over high heat, about 3 minutes each side. Place to the side.
- Grill the seasoned steak for approximately 2 minutes, flip, and grill for another 1 minute. Place the bacon and then a slice of cheese on top of each steak and grill for another 1 minute. Remove the steaks.
- Spread the chimichurri sauce on the inside of the rolls and place the lettuce, sliced tomato, steak, bacon and cheese onto the roll. Top it with the onion and pepper and the sliced hard-boiled eggs.
Movie from uruguay: Whisky
Before finding the movie Whisky, I gritted my teeth through the very American version of the film Alive. Alive is based on the real life events of a plane crash in the Andes carrying a Uruguayan rugby team. The Traveling Ninja absolutely raved about this movie, and trusting his judgement I settled in to watch it. DO NOT! I really have no respect for film companies or actors who take a real life story from a different country and cannot even be bothered to keep it culturally relevant or even attempt the accent from which the story comes from. PET PEEVE OF NOTE! Anyway, after a few weeks, I found Whisky, a Uruguayan film that won awards at the Cannes Film Festival, and can be watched from amazon prime.
The film Whisky is named because apparently that is the Uruguyan version of "CHEESE" when a photographer takes your picture. The film follows a very lonely sock factory owner's life as his younger and more successful brother comes to visit. He asks his loyal assistant to pose as his wife while the brother is in town, and then on vacation too. Its subtitled in Spanish and in many ways pretty sad despite its comedic value, as it shows how lonely life can be. I wouldn't tell you to go rush out and watch it though. It wasn't as good as the Chivito, despite winning awards.
The Traveling Ninja Verdict:
The Traveling Ninja believed that this was a fabulous dish... so fabulous that no quote could do it justice. Sorry to disappoint all his fans, he didn't believe my pun of "Uruguay who needs a chivito stat!" was very good.
The Traveling Ginger Verdict:
Sorry Canada! You have been removed from the top spot on this journey! Uruguay has the best sandwich and meal in the world! This steak sandwich is amazing. The TN and I bit into our sandwiches and lost our minds. Uruguay's chivito is certainly the best sandwich I've ever had in my life. The Chivito has completely restored my faith in the country and knocked it onto my favorite country list. Absolutely delicious!
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