My husband does not need any excuses to pull out the smoker and smoke some meats. When we planned our latest get together with Jonathon and Priscilla, that was excuse enough to start smoking again. We wanted to hear all about their recent trip for their niece’s wedding, An Argentine Wedding In California and what better way to visit with friends than over a delicious meal with good wine, right?!
The Argentines call their ranchers gauchos, and there was a gaucho grill present for the wedding. Grilled meats are an Argentine staple and are probably some of the most popular foods of Argentina. I guess we were vicariously in an Argentine frame of mind after seeing their pictures, so we decided to have our own version of a gaucho grill here at home.
Larry smoked some sausages, a whole chicken, a couple of racks of ribs, some pork and a brisket. I looked through my South American cookbooks and found the perfect sides to go with all this meat, and Priscilla brought food as well. We had enough food to feed a small army, yet it was only the four of us eating. This is kind of typical of how I cook though, especially when I get with other friends who also love to cook. We are still going through all the leftovers. Of course, everything is changed so no one but Larry and I know they are leftovers, and even Larry has a hard time believing they were once something else.
One of the dishes I contributed to our Argentine feast was an escabeche with all kinds of vegetables, also known as alcauciles y zanahorias en escabeche. Estabeches are very popular all throughout the Spanish world. They are also very versatile and can be made with just about anything. Every country and every region has their own specialty. Escabeche is a technique for pickling and preserving foods that was passed down to the Spanish during the times of the Moorish occupation in Spain, and has changed very little over time. The basic ingredients to any escabeche are olive oil, vinegar, and sometimes wine. Other than that, anything goes. Ideally, an escabeche should be made a day ahead before serving, so all the flavors can really develop and come to life. They are usually served at room temperature, although they are often served warm too. They are great for any type of meal or snack, at any time of day. Argentina and Uruguay are famous for their meats and wild games, so aside from this vegetable escabeche, they are also known for their meat and wild game escabeches.
Argentine Vegetable Escabeche
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 red onion, small dice
1/2 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 cup mixed olives, cut in half
1 TBSP capers
1 TBSP garlic
1 bay leaf
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
red pepper flakes to taste
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
3/4 cup chicken broth
salt & pepper to taste
Bring the carrots and green beans to a boil in water and boil for about 5 minutes, then drain and cool.
Mix all the rest of the ingredients together with the carrots and green beans once again, cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Once everything is cooked, remove the bay leaf and discard, then transfer the vegetables into a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Take it out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.