Matambre, the Argentine Hunger Killer

The Argentinian kitchen blends several influences from the Mediterranean brought by the Spanish with the traditional cooking methods of the Native Americans.

Immigrants from Italy and Spain introduced some of their famous cooking methods, and the Argentinians adapted them using their broad scope of agricultural and meat products.

Matambre is one of the most popular dishes in Argentina as it combines the influences of different cultures.

It’s a delicious dish that you can serve in a family dinner and will definitely impress everyone.

Moreover, the ingredients are easy to obtain, and the recipe is straightforward to execute.

Keep on reading to learn more about this unique dish.

What is Matambre?

Matambre Argentinian Dish
Matambre Argentinian Dish

Matambre is also known as Suadero in some Latin American countries. The name refers to a very thin cut of beef that is taken from between the ribs and the skin.

This primal cut is quite common in Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina.

When the animal is trying to repel flies and other flying bugs, it twitches its body using this particular muscle. This is why it’s sometimes called the fly shaker.

The word Matambre is Spanish based. Matar means “to kill” and hambre means “hunger.”

So, Matambre means hunger killer, and this makes perfect sense because this dish is filling without being too heavy as it contains proteins and vegetables that make it taste delicious.

In some cases, people compare the Matambre to the flank steak. Although the cut isn’t exactly the same, you can use the flank steak for cooking this dish.

This thin rose-colored muscle is soft. This is why it can be rolled with various stuffing types to create the Matambre Relleno or Matambre Arrollado, the famous Argentinian dish.

The stuffing includes various types of vegetables, ham, hard-boiled eggs, in addition to different kinds of herbs that add a lot of dimension to the dish.

The meat is then boiled, grilled, or oven-roasted until it’s cooked. Once cooked, the meat will be sliced when it’s still warm, but it can also be served cold.

The shape of the dish depends on the stuffing, so you can add your favorite ingredients to make a special edition of Matambre.

In most cases, Matambre is served with Chimichurri sauce, and you can choose the red or green version, according to your preferences. Matambre can also be made of pork.

How to Serve Matambre

Matambre and Russian Salad
Matambre and Russian Salad

This versatile dish can be served in many ways.

Traditionally, it’s served with Russian salad, various types of vegetables and Chimichurri sauce, but you can also serve it with mayonnaise as a condiment.

In some cases, Matambre is marinated in milk with herbs before cooking to help soften the meat and add an exceptional taste to the dish.

Some people don’t roll the meat, but bake it flat in the oven and add some beaten eggs and cheese on top.

Another version of the dish involves serving the meat as pizza.

Matambre a la pizza uses the piece of meat as the dough, and it’s then covered with tomato sauce and several toppings.

The meat is baked in the oven until fully cooked, then served hot.

However, the most popular way to serve Matambre is to roll it and cook it until it’s done. You can add or remove ingredients to create your special dish.

This means that it’s so versatile because you can serve a different recipe every single time.

If you don’t have any of the ingredients, you can develop a special custom-made version that suits your family and friends.

Matambre is usually served as a snack or a lunch meal. The meat is so thin and will cook quickly. Once it’s done, you have to let it rest before cutting.

This is one of the dishes that can be kept in the fridge and served cold the next day. It’s an excellent choice for working parents and people who don’t like to cook on the spot because it tastes delicious even after being kept in the fridge.

How to Cook Matambre

Matambre Traditional Argentine Dish
Matambre Traditional Argentine Dish

If you’re lucky enough to get this cut, you can start preparing it for your dish.

However, this might be a little challenging in the US, so a flank steak will work fine.

There are several variations to the dish, and you can be flexible with the ingredients and how you prepare the meat.

The more colorful the ingredients, the more attractive the dish will be.

Remember to choose ingredients that blend well to create a tasty recipe. It takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes to be ready, including resting time.

In this section, we’ll explain how to prepare and cook Matambre. These ingredients are enough to yield 4 to 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2-pound piece of flank steak.
  • Olive oil.
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • 1 ½ cups of fresh parsley leaves.
  • 1 ½ cups of fresh cilantro leaves.
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed. You can add more.
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters.
  • 2 medium carrots cut into ¾ -inch sticks.
  • 2 medium red peppers cut into ¾-inch sticks.
  • ½ cup of green olives (optional).
  • 2 tablespoons of jalapeno slices (optional).
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard (optional).
  • 1 cup of sliced ham (optional).
  • 6 ounces of Chorizo (optional).

Chimichurri sauce goes well with Matambre. Below is an easy recipe or you can buy it online here. Or you can just skip it all together.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of fresh cilantro leaves.
  • 1 cup of fresh parsley leaves.
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed.
  • ¼ cup of red wine vinegar.
  • ½ cup of olive oil.
  • Kosher salt.
  • ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.

Steps

  1. Start with the sauce to get it ready. Finely chop the cilantro, parsley, and garlic. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl, and add the red wine vinegar, kosher salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir in the olive oil until you reach the desired consistency.

Remember that this step is optional. Some people choose to serve Matambre with other delicious condiments.

  1. The flank steak is thicker than the original cut used for this dish. This is why you need to make the meat thinner and larger.

Use a sharp knife to butterfly the steak by cutting it from the middle. Slice through the steak against the grain until it opens like a piece of paper that has been folded in half. Keep the other side attached.

  1. Pound the meat using a meat mallet and brush some olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes on both sides of the steak.
  2. Get a skillet and heat the olive oil. Cook the Chorizo or harm until they’re done. Drain on paper towels and let it cool.
  3. Chop the cilantro, parsley, jalapeno slices, olives, and garlic on the cutting board to create a coarse mixture. Brush the steak with the Dijon mustard and spread the mixture on top. Tap the meat to make sure that the mixture has stuck.

Some people marinate their steak in milk before cooking. Add your favorite herbs and spices to a bottle of milk and marinate the steak for at least 8 hours. This will help cook the meat faster.

  1. Add the stuffing by placing rows of eggs, carrots, peppers, ham, or Chorizo while alternating between them as the filling goes with the grain. Leave one-third of the steak uncovered with the stuffing, then start rolling it like a jelly roll, starting from the filled side to the empty one.
  2. Use kitchen twine to tie your steak. Roll the twine and then tie it length-wise to secure the meat.
  3. You can boil the steak in herbal milk, and then oven-roast it. Some people choose to put it in the oven until it’s fully cooked.

If you choose to grill it, grill the meat on direct heat, making sure that all 4 sides are cooked for about 2 minutes.

After that, move the meat to the indirect heat side and cook it until the temperature reads 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

For a medium-rare steak on the inside, the meat will need about 25 to 30 minutes to be fully cooked.

Keep the meat on the grill a little longer if you like it well done.

  1. Remove the meat from the grill and let it rest for about 30 minutes.
  2. Cut the meat into thick slices and serve with Chimichurri sauce or any condiment of your choice.

Wrap Up

With so many versatile ingredients, Matambre is one of the most flexible and delicious Argentine dishes you can serve.

Experiment with different ingredients and herbal mixes and see how it will taste every time.

But don’t forget dessert! Check out 16 Argentinian Desserts No One Can Turn Down.

And as always, you can shop for Argentinian foods and drinks at our online store.

Buy popular brands like Havanna, San Ignacio and of course the best brands of yerba mate.

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