Creative Criolla: From Argentina via Le Cordon Bleu

Creative Criolla: From Argentina via Le Cordon Bleu

Think Argentine cuisine is all gaucho grilling and Italian comfort food in translation? Well, there's more to the local gastronomy than what you encountered in last night's bodegón. Don't get us wrong—we love our ñoquis. But we also love the way our favorite Buenos Aires-born, Paris-educated cocinera brings wit, style, and sophistication to Argentine heritage ingredients. A genuine culinary artist, Paula can take everyday chimichurri from rustic to refined faster than you can say beurre pommade. In her capable hands, even the humble cassava, a no-frills tuber that has sustained the country's indigenous populations for millennia, is transformed into something utterly surprising and luxurious. In the recipe that follows, plucked straight from Paula's cosmopolitan kitchen, regional staples get the royal treatment en route to an elevated, traveled Argentine meal.

Patagonian Lamb with Cassava & Chimichurri en croute

For the chimichurri en croute:
3 large garlic cloves
5 g ground chili
5 g dried marjoram
5 g paprika
5 g black pepper
1 dl apple cider vinegar
1.5 dl corn oil
3 bay leaves
100 g butter (softened)
50 g processed breadcrumbs

For the lamb and the sauce:
2 kg lamb sirloin (bones reserved)
60 g celery
200 g carrot
200 g onion
reserved lamb bones
3 bay leaves
40 g honey
20 g glucose syrup

For the cassava purée:
1.5 kg cassava
250 g Sbrinz cheese
2 dl whole milk
5 g salt

For the garnish:
1 cremini mushroom
1 fresh, young onion

1. Prepare the chimichurri en croute. 

Peel and boil the garlic. Process it with the chili, marjoram, paprika, and black pepper. Add the vinegar, oil, and bay leaves, and allow the mixture to sit for one day; then strain the liquid and reserve the spices. Process the chimichurri spices with the breadcrumbs in a food processor. Add the butter and mix well. Take a square of wax paper and spread the mixture on top to a thickness of about ½ cm. Cover with another sheet of wax paper and place in the freezer. Cut to desired size and set aside.

2. Make the lamb sauce.

Roast the reserved lamb bones in the oven until they are golden brown. Clean the vegetables and cut into 1 cm cubes, then brown in a large pot. Add the bones and bay leaves to the vegetables, cover with water, and allow to reduce for three hours. Strain the broth and let it cool completely. Remove the fat and reduce with the honey and glucose until it reaches the desired texture. Set aside.

3. Prepare the cassava purée.

Peel the cassavas and place them in a big pot of water with a bit of salt. Boil until they are soft. Grate the cheese. Process the cooked cassava, grated cheese, and milk in a food processor until you have a smooth purée. Set aside.

4. Prepare the garnish.

Clean the whole onion and chop it in half, then sear just one side in a very hot frying pan. Remove each layer of the onion, one by one, and set aside. Clean the mushroom and use a mandolin to slice very thin; set aside.

5. Heat, assemble, and serve.

Sear the lamb on both sides and arrange on a plate. Place the cold chimichurri en croute on top and heat in a hot oven for three minutes. Heat the cassava purée and the sauce, and arrange on the plate. Garnish with the shaved onion and mushroom. 

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