Let’s Grill Chivito, Uruguay’s National Dish

Chivito Uruguays Nationalgericht

Barbecue and grilling season has started and for that reason I brought along the Uruguayan national dish: chivito. Chivito literally translates as “little goat”, even though it has nothing to do with a goat. Legend has it that an Argentinian tourist ordered something with goat from Antonio Carbonaro, the owner of the famous restaurant El Mejillón in Punta del Este. Since Antonio didn’t have any goat at hand, he came up with this burger/sandwich, which Anthony Burdain called the Everest of steak sandwiches: chivito.

Chivito Uruguays NationalgerichtAt its core a Uruguayan chivito is a hamburger bun or baguette with a thin steak, ham, cheese, tomato, lettuce, and mayonnaise. The plain version, however, is rarely served. Often hard-boiled or fried eggs are added, you can also see chivito served with bacon, olives, or caramelized onions; the add-on options are endless. Chimichurri, the herb-based sauce also plays a role in giving this sandwich is distinct Uruguayan flavor.

Vorbereitungen für Chivito Uruguays NationalgerichtI decided to make my own brioche buns for chivito, this is a very simple recipe you can prepare the night before. It has a very soft inner texture, but nice crunchy crust and accompanies the many ingredients nicely. You can also go for store-bought baguette, however, I find making the bun from scratch somehow makes this sandwich so much better. I find these buns especially convenient as you barely have to do anything other than to stick them in the fridge and shape them into balls before baking. Most of the work is just to wait.

Be it as it may, I hope you enjoy this national dish Uruguayans are very proud of.

Credit: Brioche buns from Alexandra’s Kitchen

Chivito, Uruguay's National Dish

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Serves: 8 chivitos
Cooking Time: 30min preparation + overnight chilling + 20min of baking

Ingredients

  • Brioche Buns (prepared the night before)
  • 80 grams of milk
  • 60 grams of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of molasses
  • 220 grams of cold water
  • 1 egg
  • 500 grams of bread flour or high-gluten flour
  • 8 grams of salt
  • 1 package or 8 grams of active-dry yeast
  • Milk or egg wash
  • Optional: sesame seeds

  • Toppings
  • 4 medium-size onions
  • 8 steak milanese or finely cut stirloin steaks
  • Garlic
  • 8 bacon stripes
  • 8 slices of ham
  • 8 slices of mozzarella
  • 3-4 tomatos
  • Lettuce
  • 8 eggs
  • Mustard
  • Chimichurri sauce, see here how to make it

Instructions

1

For the brioche buns heat the milk with the butter and molasses until the butter has melted. Add the cold water and egg to this mix.

2

In a large bowl place flour, salt and yeast and mix. Then add the milk and water mix and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. You don't have to knead the dough, it is perfectly fine to do this by hand with a wooden spoon, this doesn't need to be very thorough. Cover with a damp towel and stick in the fridge overnight.

3

The next morning knead dough on a generously floured surface for a little and cut into eight equal pieces. Shape these into balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover again with damp towel and let rise for about an hour or until double in size.

4

Heat oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Brush the buns with either milk, heavy cream or egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired. Bake for about 15-20min or until golden. Let cool.

5

For the toppings chop the onions and sauté in a bit of butter, let caramelize, this may take ten to 15 minutes, stir occasionally. Rub the steaks with a bit of garlic and then grill or fry the steaks, the bacon, and eggs with salt and pepper, toast the buns after having cut in half. Spread mustard on one bun half, layer each chivito with steak, a slice of ham, a slice of cheese, one bacon stripe, a tomato slice, and some lettuce. Place fried egg on top and sprinkle generously with chimichurri and some onions right before serving.

Chivito Uruguays NationalgerichtPhoto by Daniel Cuervo

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