The wine, the flavours, the meat — heaps and heaps of succulent meat. Oh, the luscious Brazilian food known as churasco. Roasted and flavourful, churasco is served in incredible Brazilian restaurants called churascarrias, which make the meal one you will never forget. However, there’s no need to jump on a flight to South America in order to sample this classic, must-eat Brazilian dish – you can easily prepare it at home! Here’s how:
Churasco – Ideal for a dinner party
Visit one of those wonderful Brazilian restaurants that serve churasco, and you will find brightly-outfitted gauchos armed with skewers of meat to give guests all the exceptionally-roasted meats they can eat. Throw in a good bottle of wine and a fantastic salad bar, and churasco instantly becomes a mouth-wateringly memorable meal that, with only a little preparation, can be made in your own home. Better still, it is perfect for a dinner party [long skewers and colourful outfits are optional].
Three things: salad, wine and meat
Creating your own psuedo-churascarria for a dinner party is easier than you think. Imagine it as a three-phase plan comprised of salad, wine and meat. And while any good evenings entertainment should involve a dessert, very few people will still be hungry after trying this Brazilian-style meal.
The first stage of the churasco plan is getting the right wine — one to two bottles each of red and white should suffice. The great news is you can outsource this entirely. Go to a wine shop, tell the wine expert you will be serving red meat, and then come home with the perfect bottles. Look for wines that are under £10 since everyone be focused on the meat, not the wine.
Typical salad selections include lettuce, red apples, asparagus, croutons, proscuitto, Parmesan cheese, sweet mustard-based potato salad, Caesar dressing, aioli (red pepper dressing) and lemon juice.
You can accomplish your salad offerings by enlisting helpers and doing some of the work yourself. The “salad bar” will consist of three items: apple-potato salad, Caesar salad, and blanched asparagus.
- Salads: If you happen to have a reputable deli that makes excellent Caesar salads, simply purchase your salad just before the party. Or, you can easily toss your own. For the apple-potato salad, buy a normal deli potato salad and then add chopped apples about two hours before serving. Make sure you keep it refrigerated.
- Asparagus: To blanch the asparagus, bring some salted water to a boil. Cut the last inch of the stalk off the asparagus and boil the stalks for 3 or 4 minutes. Immediately transfer the asparagus into an ice bath to prevent further cooking. The remove from the water, sprinkle with a little lemon juice and place the asparagus in the refrigerator. When the guests arrive, serve the asparagus with proscuitto and aioli.
Phase Three: Meat
To prepare your star entrée, buy 115g each of flank steak and top sirloin per person, one filet per person and one ribeye for every two people. Each of these cuts are packed with flavour and can all be cooked in roughly the same amount of time (ensure that buy cuts that have the same thickness).
How to make churasco
Perfectly cooked, succulent meat is the most important part of your meal, and it can easily be achieved with a combination of hob and oven cooking.
1. Season meat. Sprinkle both sides of the meat with salt and pepper and allow it to rest at room temperature for 35 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Cook filets and ribeyes. Pour a flavour-neutral oil, such as grape seed, into two large oven-proof skillets over high heat. Wait until the skillets and the oil are very hot and then place one filet in one skillet and one ribeye in the other. Cook the meat for 3 to 4 minutes each side. Put both skillets in the oven (or put the meat on a baking tray and put it in the oven) and cook until desired doneness, 8 minutes maximum).
3. Cook the steak and sirloin. Put two more large skillets on the hob over high heat, add oil and let them get very hot. Add the flank steak to one skillet and the sirloin to the other. Cook both meats for 4 to 5 minutes each side, or until your desired doneness. Allow all meats to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Serve your Brazilian meat
Once you have finished cooking the meat, all you have left to do is uncork the wine and serve the salad. For the true churascarria experience, you could skewer the meat and carry each piece around, carving required slices for your guests. If you would like to add an even more authentically twist to your churasco, you’ll need to find those snazzy golden gaucho pants. But you are on your own with that.